Teacups and Carousels


Full Summary: Uzumaki Naruto- supposed mute and victim of child abuse. Uchiha Sasuke- a boy in Naruto's year who just so happened to be 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: *sniff* it's official- my memory stick... it's DEAD! *sobs in corner* It had so many updates but then my little sister just HAD to bend it when it was plugged in- the solder joint, we could fix- but the track on the PCB was broken and the internal wires were stressed to much (this is my electronics talking.) But I got a new one for my birthday so it's all good! 4 GB. I love you guys for the reviews- thanks for the support! xCastielsGirlx loves you! MWA!


Warnings: Heavy abuse in this chapter. Kill me now viewers! Also, language and violence with some attempts at humour. Slight SasuNaru Shounen-ai at the end.

The most important warning, I feel, however, is this one right here: Mentions of past rape.

Disclaimer: Masashi Kishimoto owns all Naruto characters- and believe me, you'll be glad he does when you read this… I just… I'm sorry *sobs in corner* I feel awful. You should shoot me.

*~Teacups and Carousels~*

*~Part II~*

Cerulean blue eyes cracked open hours later to be met with a white tiled ceiling. Confused and aching, the blond took a moment to observe the ceiling, just to double check that he wasn't in some stranger's house being held against his will. His chest felt heavy, along with his legs arms and his neck was uncomfortably numb. He sighed in realisation at what had happened, feeling an oxygen mask over his mouth as he did so. His eyebrows furrowed in confusion; it hadn't been that bad, from what he remembered. He'd only been beaten for half an hour- that was only about half the time than usual.

He could feel wires and tubes exiting from his arm and he heavily sighed, knowing that there would be questions later on from Jiraiya- especially seeing, as he was chief of Police. However, Naruto knew better than cry out- he'd lose his remaining family if he did and he didn't want that one bit. His father was all that he had left. He still loved him, but he didn't want to lose him to something as- what he presumed to be- mundane as a beating. All he knew was that his father had a problem and so it wasn't his fault for what he did.

"Well hello there," came a soft voice. Naruto couldn't help it. Despite the amounts of wires coming from his body and his injured limbs, he jumped up to scream at the top of his lungs, snapping the elastic on the oxygen mask. A panicked alabaster hand made its way to cover the mouth before any more noise could be made to alert any nurses. Cerulean blue locked with familiar onyx and widened in response, more noises vibrating against the hand that was covering his mouth.

"Jeez dobe! Do you want to make the nurses come running in?" he hissed, shifting in his chair. It was then that Naruto calmed down, screaming coming to a halt as he tried to breathe properly. Sasuke frowned when the blond patted the alabaster hand over his mouth. Sasuke frowned.

"You're not going to scream again are you?" he asked. Naruto shook his head, motioning to his lungs before Sasuke finally got the message.

"Oh, sorry!" he apologised as he pulled his hand away, making the blond gasp dramatically for air. The blond coughed slightly as he brought the air back into his lungs that had been starved of the object of their preferring.

"Teme, what are you doing here?" he asked defensively. Sasuke opened his mouth to answer when Naruto growled.

"You've come to gloat, haven't you? You're here to laugh at the abused gypsy boy. Go on- let it out then!" he growled, pulling his knees to his chest and fisting the sheets in front of him. Sasuke blinked at the reaction before sighing, leaning forward and taking the blond's hands away from the blankets.

"I'm not here to gloat, dobe." He told the blond softly, who just looked up, a little shimmer of hope visible in his eyes. Sasuke saw this and smiled gently.

"My mother collapsed here due to stress but she was okay. I was planning to spend the night when you were brought in. I thought that you'd like to wake up to see someone by your bedside," he explained gently. Naruto narrowed his eyes and scowled.

"I don't need your pity, jackass!" he snapped. Sasuke almost groaned aloud when he thought over his words. He looked to the blond with something akin to distress in his eyes.

"Dammit dobe, I'm trying to be nice here!" he snapped. Naruto turned his fierce gaze onto the raven before a snarl overtook his features.

"And I just told you that I don't want your niceness- it's the same as pity you asshole! Leave me alone!" he yelled, hugging his arms around his stomach. Sasuke noted this and his eyes softened. He'd taken to doing that a lot after his brother and father had passed away. He'd lie awake at night, arms around himself as if hoping that it'd be his older brother, wrapping his arms around him and telling him that everyone was okay. He'd been doing that when he'd been in need of a hug- or any sort of comfort- for the first few weeks after their deaths. He had no idea how long the blond had been doing it for, but he decided that he could at least do him a favour and offer him some comfort. He sighed and shifted in his seat before leaning forward and pulling the blond into a hug, being mindful of his wires at the same time.

"What are you doing?! Get off!" he yelled, struggling. Despite what he yelled at the raven, he couldn't help but think that it felt…nice to have some contact that wasn't a sharp hand or a heavy fist. He shoved weakly at the broad shoulders, hoping to dislodge the Uchiha.

"I said get off!" he struggled, trying to contain the hot tears that were rising to the surface. Sasuke just held him tighter, not giving him an option. He could feel the tremors wracking through the smaller boy as he held him closer than he'd liked.

"LET GO!" the blond screamed, no longer fighting the tears as they cascaded down his cheeks like a salty waterfall, but still pushing against the raven with all his might.

"I don't need your pity! I don't want your comfort!" he sobbed. His actions contradicted his words however, as he placed his forehead to the raven's shoulder and sobbed roughly, tears dampening the graphic t-shirt. They stayed like that for at least ten minutes before the tears and sobs eventually dried out and the blond was just staring into a tear soaked shoulder, eyes feeling as though they had been doused in seawater. The occasional hiccup escaped from his throat, but Sasuke just rubbed his back and made soothing noises.

"It's okay, dobe," he whispered, earning a small, wet chuckle.

"Teme, I'm not a dobe," Naruto whispered, pulling back and wiping at his eyes. Sasuke just sighed and pulled a packet of tissues from his back pocket, handing one to the blond, who just took it and blew his nose. Sasuke smiled a little at the sight before settling back into his chair.

"Why are you here Sasuke?" Naruto asked, not wanting to make eye contact now that he had completely broken down in front of him. Sasuke just looked at the blond who was intently staring at the blankets in front of him.

"I wanted to apologise for the almighty asshole I've been over the years," he grimaced when Naruto snorted and fixed him with a glare.

"You mean the biggest asshole within the whole of the asshole community- in fact, I'm sure they erected a shrine of you somewhere in asshole heaven to worship," he continued. Sasuke flinched at the explanation and looked at his lap.

"I know- I wasn't pleasant at all. I… I want to change that. I want to be friends," he whispered. Naruto blinked twice at that before he shrunk back.

"You've made a bet, haven't you?" he asked. Sasuke frowned

"What do you-"

"Well you can tell whoever paid you and Kiba to fuck off and that I'll hunt them down to break their legs!" he snarled, a vicious look on his face. Sasuke blinked before understanding dawned upon him.

"You think we're being paid? Fuck, Naruto- who'd do that?" he asked, stressed at the fact the blond wouldn't believe him.

"You and your little posse of populars! I'm not going to be the object of your amusement!" he snapped, pushing Sasuke away from him. Sasuke's eyes narrowed.

"You really are a dobe! Why won't you believe me when I say I want to be your friend?" he snapped. Naruto rounded on him, a tiny flicker of shame passing through his eyes before being covered with anger.

"Because I've never had a friend before!" he yelled back, a small blush grazing his cheeks. Sasuke's face softened and at last, he understood why it was so hard for the blond to trust others when they said they wanted to be his friend.

"Dobe, I really do want to be your friend- how can I get you to trust me enough to understand that?" he asked gently. Naruto huffed and turned around, folding his arms across his chest.

"I don't know," he replied softly, sadness gracing his features. Sasuke sighed and reached a hand out to touch the blond's shoulder but stopped when he noticed a flinch. He withdrew his hand before throwing all caution to the wind and placing it on the shoulder anyway.

"Just trust me, Naruto. I swear I won't betray you," he told the blond, looking right into blue eyes with his own holding nothing but sincerity and promises. Naruto looked torn at what to do- he'd never let his guard down this far before and his mask already had acquired a huge crack since the day Sasuke had saved him from a showery death. He didn't even trust Kiba that much, even though he had agreed to be the brunet's friend. He could hang out with Kiba and laugh and joke...but… but Sasuke was asking for his trust! It was something the blond had never given anyone before- not even his father when he was in one of his good moods. Why did Sasuke want his trust? It was like asking for his virginity in his opinion- something not to be given lightly.

"I… I-"

Sasuke seemed to sense his distress as he just squeezed the shoulder gently in his grasp and looked the blond in the eyes.

"You don't have to say anything. I'm just asking to be your friend. If it takes even fifty years or an entire lifetime for you to trust me, I understand. I just want you to be able to tell me when you're upset so I can make it better," he muttered. Naruto swallowed a few times, casting a glance around the hospital room as if to check for any traps before he shyly nodded. Sasuke saw the small nod and he felt his heart lift slightly. He removed his hand and leaned back in his seat. Naruto threw him a confused look when Sasuke asked him a question.

"So, Naruto, do you have a favourite animal?" Cerulean blue eyes blinked at the question before a small smile took over his face.

"I like foxes. How about you?"

Mikoto stood outside, smiling slightly as she watched the two boys' converse about several mundane things. A shadow covered her form and she spun on the spot, not surprised at who she saw.

"Hello there, Jiraiya. Come to ask him what happened I presume?" she asked the shaggy-haired male whose long white hair was pulled back into a rough and low ponytail. The man snorted and folded his arms across his chest, which adorned a shiny 'Chief of Police' badge. He just snorted, eyeing the blond teen that was still talking to the raven and had become bold enough to move a little closer and talk with even more enthusiasm.

"I'm going to at least try to get something out of him. He never remembers, apparently," he replied. Mikoto sighed and placed a hand on the broad shoulder in consolation.

"Good luck," she whispered, walking off to attend to some other patients. Jiraiya just sighed, pushing the door open and striding in. Naruto faced the older man with a small smile on his face whilst Sasuke just looked at the man with a small amount of nervousness- Chief of Police or not, this man had an aura around him that said 'If you mess with me or my Family- I'll kill you'.

"Hey Ero, what's up?" Naruto asked from his place on the bed. Kind grey eyes narrowed at the nonchalant tone the boy was using and a small growl threatened to burst through; but he kept it at bay so as not to startle the boy.

"Nothing much brat. I'm here to ask you what happened," he commented. A small frown overtook the features of the blond and he looked up into the other's eyes, not knowing what to say. So he decided on the usual excuse.

"I can't rem-"

"Can't remember. What are you, a freaking amnesiac? Naruto, you never remember but when it comes to grudges, you never forget! Tell me what the fuck went on last night! It had to be bad for you to have been hospitalised!" Jiraiya snapped, making the younger boy shrink back. He glanced around shakily and grabbed the blankets in front of him to stop his hands from shaking. Sasuke noticed how the boy became withdrawn when it came to the subject. It was almost as if he was ashamed- as if he thought, it was his own fault for being hospitalised and abused.

"I-I really don't remember this time," he whispered gently. Jiraiya eyed him with something akin to disappointment.

"Dammit Naruto, if you won't tell me, then I'll just have to tell you," he growled lowly, pulling out a few files which included Minato's report on what had happened and a print out of the call to the emergency services. He cleared his throat and looked to the boy who had shrunk back even further in shame before he turned his gaze onto the younger Uchiha.

"You're aware of his situation?" he asked almost coldly. Sasuke nodded in reply.

"Yes sir," he replied. Jiraiya returned his nod before clearing his throat and reading the report.

"You returned home twenty minutes late from school yesterday, didn't you Naruto?" he asked the blond, who nodded gently in reply, still averting his eyes from everything apart from the hospital bed-sheets that were scrunched up in his fists.

"And how did your father respond to that?" Jiraiya asked. Naruto frowned, wracking his brains for the right memory- but more importantly, the right thing to say so that he didn't end up in the orphanage.

"H-he yelled at me and sent me to my room. That was the end of it," he whispered. The answer obviously didn't satisfy the older man however, seeing as as soon as Naruto had finished his sentence, he growled lowly in his throat.

"Dammit Naruto, don't lie about the abu-"

"DON'T YOU DARE! HOW DO YOU HAVE THE GALL TO ACCUSE MY FATHER OF SUCH A HORRID THING?!" Naruto screamed at the older man, face staining red in his anger. Jiraiya's jaw dropped at that but he snapped it closed, narrowing his eyes once more.

"Stop over-reacting! We all know that you're being abus-" he was cut-off however, when a fist crashed into his cheek and he found himself on the floor being straddled by an angry blond.

"Don't SAY that!" Naruto yelled, wrapping his fingers loosely around the other man's neck. Sasuke stood up, shocked at the fact the blond had ripped several wires out of himself to attack the Chief of Police. He stood up in shock to approach the blond.

"Naruto! Let go of him!" he yelled, pulling the blond back by his shoulders. Naruto struggled against the raven that was pulling him back.

"Dammit Naruto!" Sasuke yelled, finally pulling the blond away from the older man and restraining him.

"You're going to burst your fucking stitches you moron!" Sasuke yelled, now concerned for the blond's health as he was still making swipes at Jiraiya.

"I don't care! He's not taking my father away!" The blond yelled, lessening his struggles with an upset voice.

"He can't take him away!" he whispered brokenly, collapsing against the Uchiha's hold. Jiraiya was sitting up and wiping his lip free of blood from where the blond had hit him hard. Sasuke was at a loss of what to say. The blond knew what was going on, but he wouldn't cry out.

Just when was he going to give up?

*~Teacups and Carousels~*…

The rain hammered against the windows of the kitchen as Naruto spooned instant coffee into two mugs. It had been three weeks since he had been discharged from the hospital; and what a three weeks they'd been. Naruto was surprised that when he returned to school, not only did Sasuke and Kiba wish to be his friend, but he was also approached by Sakura Haruno- another prefect. He'd warily accepted her friendship- but he was still looking out for any traps; it was hard for him to trust them all. However, after seeing Sakura, Sasuke and Kiba approach Orochimaru and Kabuto to hang them from the school flagpole by their boxers for beating Naruto up, he had to reconsider a little.

The blond sighed as he looked out of the window. It was Friday evening and his dad had given him the weekend off work in apology for his behaviour. He was in one of his good moods when he woke up the day before and had been quiet and contemplative. Naruto had acted normally, not wanting to make the man feel rejected. He had been glad, however, when he'd awoken to ramen in bed and the day off school, a free weekend and a promise that he could invite a friend over to stay for the night on Friday. Naruto had promptly thanked his father and phoned the Uchiha to invite him to stay, informing him that his father was in a good mood, at least for a week.

Sasuke had also been calling him every day for the past few weeks to see how he was doing. Naruto wasn't very sure about how to go about this. He'd accepted the Uchiha's friendship, but he didn't know that it came with a morning and evening phone call to check on how he was doing. The blond had a distinct feeling that either Mikoto or Jiraiya had put him up to it, but he enjoyed the fact that he could just talk for a while to someone other than himself or his dad's shouting personality. He sighed, looking once more out of the kitchen window in time to see a light blue Volkswagen Golf pull into the drive. He smiled slightly as his dad clambered out and closed the door before arriving at the front door. Naruto poured the water into the mug, stirring it in with the coffee granules and adding milk as the sound of keys being turned in a lock reached his ears. He walked down the hallway with a smile and handed his dad one of the cups of coffee as he took off his shoes and hung his coat up on the rack.

"Welcome home, Dad. How was the Fair?" Naruto asked, trying to keep the conversation light and happy. Minato turned a happy gaze to his son.

"It went well- we had a few schools there, despite the rain. Little gaggle of terrors were on all the rides all the time." He chuckled, earning a beaming smile from the younger blond. They moved into the kitchen where Minato leant against the side whereas Naruto leant against the sink.

"What time is Sasuke coming over?" Minato asked, sipping at his coffee lightly. Naruto hummed in thought.

"Six, I think," he replied with a smile. Minato took in the small sign of happiness on his son's face and felt his gut clench. No matter how hard he tried, he could never make his son as happy as this 'Sasuke' could. He just sighed before placing his coffee mug down.

"Do you want me to drive you boys down to the store to buy some movies and games?" he asked gently. Naruto turned to his father with a small smile.

"I know we have the money, Dad, but I don't want to inconvenience you," he replied softly. Minato's heart clenched then. This was how it always was, even when he was abusive. Naruto always made it out that he was the one who needed his father when in reality; it was the other way around. A few weeks ago, he'd been so close to hitting that brunet child but Naruto had stopped him. He was lucky his son was still by his side.

"It'll be fine, son. I don't mind. I could order some pizza too," he told the boy, who just grinned.

"You sure you don't mind?" Naruto asked. Minato smiled gently.

"Of course I don't," he replied. Naruto grinned.

"All right! You're awesome, Dad! He cried out in joy, pumping his fist into the air. Minato grinned.

"So where do you and Sasuke plan on sleeping?" he asked once his son had stopped doing his 'happy dance'. Naruto hummed in contemplation, a finger on his chin.

"It depends where we pass out really," he grinned nervously, scratching the back of his head. Minato chuckled.

"You know where the blankets are," he replied softly. Naruto nodded when the ringing of the house phone caught their attention. Naruto frowned, checking the time before his eyes widened in realisation.

"Ah! It's most probably Sasuke!" he told his father before going over to the kitchen phone and answering it with a flourish.

"Namikaze-Uzumaki household! Who's speaking?" Naruto asked. There was a soft chuckle on the other end that made Naruto completely relax- he didn't even know why he was so tense in the first place.

"Do you always answer the phone like that?" the deep baritone of Sasuke's voice streamed down the phone and Naruto sighed, leaning against the kitchen wall.

"You would know, stalker," he joked with a laugh. Sasuke joined in and Naruto felt his heart swell at the noise.

"Teme, you called?" he asked, earning a reprimanding 'language!' from his father. Sasuke chuckled once more, also leaning on his kitchen wall in his house.

"Such a potty mouth, dobe," he replied teasingly, earning a disapproving frown and 'don't be so mean' from his mother. Naruto burst out laughing at that.

"Yeah, yeah. We all know our parents are monitoring our phone conversations; are you going to answer my question?" he asked teasingly. Sasuke snorted.

"Not now that you've asked," he replied, earning a playful growl from the blond.

"Okay, okay. Basically, my Mum has to go in to work a little bit earlier than she expected. Is it okay if I'm half an hour early?" Sasuke asked, fiddling with the cord on the phone. Naruto hummed in contemplation before relaying the information to his father. There was some muttering and noises of agreement heard over the phone before Sasuke was finally graced with his answer.

"We could come and pick you up now and go to the store to buy some games and movies," he told the raven, who then told his mother the information.

"Sounds great," Sasuke replied firmly. Naruto chuckled.

"See you in a bit then Sasuke," he told the raven who, unbeknownst to the blond, let out a smile before bidding him farewell and a promise to see him soon. Naruto was just about to hang up when a yell on the other end caught his attention.

"What? Oh…yeah… you too," he replied before finally hanging up, wondering why the raven would tell him to 'take care'. He shrugged it off and turned to his dad that looked a little downcast.

"Hey Dad, what's up?" he asked, sitting opposite his father on the table. Minato looked up and sighed.

"Nothin'. C'mon, we better go pick Sasuke up," he replied softly. Naruto frowned as they entered the car and pulled out of the drive. The silence that descended was heavy as Minato typed Sasuke's address into the Sat-Nav.

"Dad, I know something's wrong," Naruto told his father. Minato sighed and stared ahead with upset eyes.

"You know that despite what I do, I do love you, right son?" he asked. Naruto frowned and nodded.

"Of course dad, I love you too," he replied eagerly. Minato sighed.

"A-are you g-gay?" he asked, looking to his son. Naruto blinked before a huge blush rose to his cheeks.

"W-WHAT?!" he yelled. Minato flinched.

"It's just that when you were on the phone to Sasuke, you were so relaxed," he replied a little sadly. Naruto blinked twice before bursting out laughing.

"Y-you thought that m-me and S-Sasuke? HAHAHA! Dad, he's my best friend, he's meant to make me feel relaxed!" he replied, wiping away a tear of laughter. Minato blinked before frowning.

"I guess it's pretty hard to relax around me," he replied sadly. Naruto's laughter stopped there and he turned to his father.

"No, dad, don't say-"

"But it's true! I hurt you, Naruto! I should be put away!" he snapped more to himself. A look of fear crossed the face of the blond.

"Don't say that, dad. It's not your fault! If anything, it's your parents' fault! They abused you! I'm not some princess you need to protect or lock away in a tower!" he replied.

"Don't leave me, dad!" he whispered, turning in his seat to gaze at the older man who just sighed.

"Alright, I'm sorry. I won't ever leave you," he promised, making the blond smile with relief.

"Good! Now if you so much as mention that it's your fault again, so help me, I'll turn this car around!" Naruto joked slightly, making his father chuckle lightly.

Minato sighed, thinking back to his childhood in which he had been abused badly by his birth-parents before someone had finally put a stop to it, sending him to an orphanage- only to be adopted six months later by Tsunade, an up and coming doctor at the time who then moved on to be a school matron.

"Dad, we're here!" Naruto told the man, bringing him out of his musing. Minato looked down to the Sat-Nav. that was virtually waving a black and white checked flag to signal their arrival. Minato looked up to the house that greatly resembled his own. Naruto smiled at his father before exiting the car into the light drizzle and running up the drive to ring the doorbell. The younger blond wrapped his arms around himself as he waited for the door to be answered. Barely ten seconds later, had the front door opened, revealing the Uchiha with his overnight duffle bag.

"Hey dobe," he replied, leaning on his doorframe and crossing his arms. Naruto smiled in return.

"Hey teme, you ready to go?" Naruto asked the raven, who just returned a small smile of his own and a nod. The two made their way down the drive to the car where Naruto opened the boot to place Sasuke's duffle bag in there. Onyx eyes surveyed the boot, not failing to notice a few scratch marks on the roof of the boot lid. He shuddered, imagining the worse. He was brought out of his musings when the boot slammed shut and the blond looked to him with a smile.

"We're stopping off at the store, remember?" he told the raven, who managed a weak smile and climbed into the backseat, followed by the Uzumaki. Minato put on a playful pout as he started the engine.

"Not sitting up in the front with your old man? I feel rejected!" he sniffed playfully, earning a laugh from Naruto.

"Nope, it's me and Sasuke tonight!" he grinned, throwing an arm around the Uchiha's shoulder. Minato chuckled and looked through the rear-view mirror at Sasuke.

"Hey Sasuke, it's nice to finally meet'cha! I'm Minato Namikaze, Naruto's father. Naruto's been going on and on about you!" he smirked. Sasuke smirked in reply and glanced to the blond that was in the backseat with him.

"Really? Well, I'll try not to jump him in the backseat then," he smirked, earning a full out bark of laughter from the older man.

"Careful there! I'm protective of my little boy!" he smirked. Naruto's face had risen to a colour similar to that of a boiled lobster at the comments.

"Teme!" Naruto rounded on the Uchiha.

"Language, Naruto!" Minato sternly told his son, who pouted and turned away. Sasuke smirked at the reaction.

"You look like such a girl when you do that," he muttered, but he was still heard by the blond, who growled in return.

"I'm not a girl!" he stressed, earning a small chuckle from his father.

"But weren't you comparing yourself to a princess earlier?" Minato reminded his son, earning an amused snort from the Uchiha. Naruto growled and folded his arms- avoiding the pout- but sunk back in his chair.

"I feel ganged up on!" he muttered. Sasuke smiled gently and flicked the blond in between the eyes.

"Suck it up- now what games are we going to buy?

*~Teacups and Carousels~*…

By Monday, the whole of the school had heard of what people liked to call the 'Orochimaru-Kabuto Boxer Flag Incident' resulting in a change in the way people approached the blond. They weren't as hurtful to him, or calling him by awful names, but instead greeting him with nervous smiles and even more apologies for their behaviour over the years. Naruto returned their smiles just as nervously but never strayed far from Sasuke's side, with Kiba on his other. Sakura was behind him, kicking his ass for making her worry when he had been in the hospital. Nevertheless, apart from that, life was good.

Naruto was sitting in his Biology class on Friday afternoon, leaning on his arm and drifting off into the comfortable confines of classroom sleep when a whiteboard pen hit his head. He snapped up to be met with his teacher, Mitarashi Anko, leering down at him.

"Well, Naruto, care to repeat what I just said to the rest of the class?" she asked, a hand on one of her hips and a small smirk on her face. Despite the fact she was calling him out, Anko had a soft spot for the blond as his mother had babysat her when she was a teenager. Naruto smirked, wracking his brains for the information he had absorbed and stored away. He looked her in the eye with a cheeky smirk.

"Diseases are more likely to spread if large numbers of pathogens enter the body as a result of unhygienic surroundings or prolonged contact with an infected person- so yes class, it can mean zombies are infections when touched for too long; so don't have sex with them. Pathogens enter the body through the air we breathe- so basically, if it was an airborne infection, we'd all be screwed- as when an infected person breathes, teeny tiny particles of moisture are released into the air, making you become a zombie," Naruto repeated, word for word, earning a few snickers from the rest of the class and a smack to the back of the head from his teacher.

"Cheeky brat; you're lucky it's the last day of school otherwise I woulda gotcha afterwards!" she smirked. Naruto just rolled his eyes and shrugged. The bell went then, signalling the end of class and- thankfully for the students- the end of the school day. Before they could all run out of the door however, Anko called for their attention.

"Remember! I want you to write about pathogens! 300 words, two scrolls of parchment!" she yelled, earning more snickers from the class. Naruto was among the ones who laughed but stopped when Anko beckoned him to come to the front of the class. Sasuke eyed the two and walked past, intending to walk with the blond. Anko shook her head at him and pointed to the door however, giving the Uchiha no option but to wait outside. He waited in the corridor for about five minutes before the door to his Biology classroom finally opened, revealing a downcast Naruto and a concerned looking Anko. She sighed and patted the blond on the shoulder as she walked away, leaving Naruto to wonder what the two had talked about. He frowned, walking up to the blond who had yet to move from where he had exited the classroom.

"Dobe, you okay?" Sasuke asked gently, placing a hand on Naruto's shoulder. He was surprised, however, when the hand was shrugged off and the blond crashed into the raven to pull him into a hug, arms wrapped around the taller boy's waist and face buried into his chest. Sasuke was starting to panic now, not knowing what had made the blond so upset when not five minutes ago he'd been chirpier than a bird on the first morning of Spring.

"Hey, hey," he whispered, hand carding softly through blond locks. He looked down at the smaller boy, whom had his eyes squeezed shut, just focusing on the squeezing of the Uchiha.

"What's wrong? Is it your dad?" he whispered gently. The tensing in the boy's form was all the answer Sasuke needed.

"Is he in a bad mood?" Sasuke asked, trying not to push the issue too far. A nod that was barely felt was his answer. Sasuke sighed softly and pulled the blond closer.

"Come to my place. I'm sure my mother would be fine with you staying until he cools off," Sasuke told Naruto, rubbing his back slightly. Naruto stiffened at the offer and just pushed himself back with a force Sasuke didn't know that he had. The raven blinked.

"Naruto?" he asked, approaching the blond that looked slightly scared at that moment. He shook his head, not wanting to speak all too much at the moment.

"N-no. I need to get back," he breathed, turning on his heel to run away when a hand caught his wrist. He was yanked back slightly, trainers making a squeaking sound on the highly waxed and polished school corridor floors. He turned slightly to witness Sasuke's face staining red in slight anger.

"Don't you dare go back there Naruto," he whispered venomously. The blond swallowed before tugging at his wrist that was locked in Sasuke's death grip.

"Teme! Let go!" he yelled, still tugging. Sasuke walked closer.

"You're a real idiot if you think I'm going to let you go back to him. You'll get hurt!" Sasuke yelled in return, making Naruto stop slightly.

"And I'll get hurt even more if I'm late back- or if I run away! You don't get it!" Naruto almost screamed, tears close to forming. Sasuke just shook his head.

"I'm not going to let you walk right into his fist!" he replied sharply, tugging the blond closer to himself. Naruto still struggled.

"You don't even know what Anko said! Why would you bother?!" he kept on yelling and pulling, wanting to just go home. Sasuke narrowed his eyes, onyx becoming as icy as the winter they were in as they glared into scared cerulean.

"Then enlighten me." He stated, causing the blond to shiver under the intense glare.

"H-he called her earlier when he was in a good mood- to tell her that he was going to go into a bad mood. He said that he didn't want me home when he was in this mood this time and that-"

"Then if you come with me you'll be fine!" Sasuke persisted, loosening up on his grip ever so slightly.

"You still don't get it! HE WON'T REMEMBER!" Naruto all but screamed at the raven, tears now pouring down his face.

"HE NEVER DOES! His personality change- he only remembers everything when he's in a good mood. The bad mood doesn't remember anything about the good mood! If I go in half way, he won't know that he told me to get away!" Naruto sobbed, weakly pulling his wrist away from the raven's slackened grip- a grip that had weakened with shock.

"But you need to be safe; his good personality knows that and he wants that for you!" Sasuke persisted, now lightly touching Naruto's shoulder. Naruto wiped at his eyes before looking into Sasuke's.

"You don't understand. I need him and he needs me. If I don't go to him when he's in a bad mood, he knows it when he changes back. He'll think that I've abandoned him!" Naruto whispered helplessly. Sasuke frowned, pulling the blond in for a light hug.

"Silly dobe; he'll understand," Sasuke whispered in comfort.

"You're already late back, so he'll be mad for that too. I can't stand the thought of someone hurting you," Sasuke whispered, pulling the blond closer as he sobbed slightly. The two broke away, and Naruto was unwillingly taken by Sasuke to the raven's house. All the way there, the blond kept his arms wrapped around himself and was constantly glancing over his shoulder. Sasuke sighed and turned to the blond as they approached his front door.

"Dobe, you're making it look like we just committed a crime," he joked slightly, hoping that the humour would ease the blond up slightly. If anything, it made him withdraw even more.

"Sorry," he whispered as he watched Sasuke press his keys into the lock and turn them to open the front door. It had started to snow slightly outside and the blond was shocked at the slight heat wave from the house that attacked him. His eyes widened and Sasuke rolled his eyes, pushing the blond inside gently with both hands on his shoulders.

"Go on in then, dobe," he muttered with a slight smirk. Naruto nodded and took his shoes off near the entrance. Sasuke rolled his eyes as he chucked his jacket onto the back of the sofa and dumped his bag near the front door.

"Idiot, dump your bag next to mine and I'll show you where you're sleeping until your dad cools off," Sasuke told the blond, who turned to him with a small nervous smile before gently placing his bag down next to the raven's and following him down the hall. Their footsteps were muffled by their socks and the carpet, but Naruto could still hear the heavy thumping of his heart in his chest, as he was away from his father for longer and longer. Eventually, it became overpowering and he gasped a bit and leant against the wall, sliding down it and covering his ears. Sasuke, hearing the gasp in the silence turned around to see the blond leaning against the wall, hands over his ears.

"Naruto! What's wrong?" he called, gently placing a hand on the smaller shoulder. Naruto looked up to the raven whose voice had sounded too loud in the quiet house.

"He's gunna be really mad! I don't like it!" Naruto whimpered slightly, pleading blue eyes locking onto onyx. Sasuke sighed and sat next to the blond by the wall.

"Naruto, you have to get over this fear that you have," Sasuke started, about to continue when he was interrupted.

"I don't have a fear! It's a dislikement!" he protested, looking at the wall straight ahead which held all of Sasuke's family in the photograph. Sasuke smirked slightly.

"Idiot, 'dislikement' isn't a word," he muttered. Naruto just leant against him slightly. Sasuke sighed in return, mirroring the blond's actions before continuing.

"It must be a fear if you dislike it so much. You have this look in your eyes when he's mentioned- it's a look of fear. You need to get over it Naruto if you want to continue living with him. It's not healthy for you to be living with him full-time. If you were to arrange for emancipation and then visit him with his good moods, you'll find a lot of changes," Sasuke told Naruto, who nodded slightly against the raven's shoulder, still looking ahead.

"But I'd still be abandoning him," Naruto whispered, grabbing the raven's arm. Sasuke sighed.

"His good personality knows that you need to be away. What we're doing at this moment, I don't mind becoming permanent. If we wait for him to go back to a good mood, my mother and he can talk; arrange something. What do you think?" Sasuke asked, looking down to the top of the blond's head. He saw the miniscule nod and smiled slightly.

"That's okay then. Now can we continue with the tour?" Sasuke asked. Naruto nodded again, letting go of the pale arm he had grabbed and standing up. Sasuke smirked once more.

"Do you want me to hold your hand?" he asked teasingly, earning a playful growl for the blond- but he was blushing slightly.

"Stuff it!" he told the raven, grabbing the pale hand and surprising the teen. Naruto looked to the side.

"What? It's a gesture of comfort!" he growled abashedly, earning a chuckle from the raven; but he didn't let go of the hand until he opened the door to a room that was directly next to his own. Naruto blinked, taking in the light blue sheets on the bed and the window that was slightly open, causing the darker blue curtains to shiver slightly. There was another blink from the blond as he took in his surroundings.

"Wow," he whispered slightly. Sasuke chuckled.

"This used to be my brother's room," he reminisced, remembering the times he would hang out in the room and play the Play Station 1 with his older brother, getting his ass handed to him on Resident Evil or Spyro by the computer-generated enemies. Naruto frowned.

"Won't he be mad if he comes home and finds me there?" Naruto asked, fidgeting slightly. Sasuke's eyes widened as he realised he'd never discussed his past with the blond, even though the raven practically knew everything about the blond's. He didn't mind discussing his brother or father though. He'd healed and moved on, making it slightly easier to talk about them. Sasuke smiled a little sadly.

"My father and brother died about twelve years ago," he told the blond, whose eyes instantly lowered at the news.

"O-oh, I'm sorry," he replied shakily. Sasuke just sighed and ruffled the blond's hair.

"Dobe, it's okay." He told his friend as he gave him a tour of the house, which included the kitchen, pantry, airing cupboard, bathroom, living room, his father's old study, the garden, and then finally…

"This is my room," Sasuke told the blond, after they had completed a circle of the house, ending up in the room that had initially been right next to Itachi's the whole time. Naruto's eyes widened as he took in the cream carpet, dark blue drapes and matching bed-sheets. There was a mahogany desk pushed up near the window that overlooked the large garden, showing the back lawn that was half-covered in snow. Underneath the desk, however, was a medium sized box, wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. Naruto tilted his head.

"What's that?" he asked, pointing to the package.

"Is it your mother's Christmas present?" he asked the raven, who had gone silent and was looking to the side with a slight blush covering his cheeks. Naruto frowned slightly and tilted his head.

"Sasuke?" he asked, slightly worried as to why his friend was blushing and muttering small obscenities to himself. Onyx glanced to cerulean before he finally sighed heavily, folded his arms, and pouted slightly at the amused smirk on the blond's face.

"Dobe, it's yours," he muttered slightly, wiping the smirk from the blond's face, replacing it with a blush.

"Wh-what?" he spluttered, not believing what he'd just heard. Sasuke just growled and grabbed the present, shoving it into the blond's hands.

"Dobe, I said that it's yours!" he growled, going over to his desk drawer and pulling out an orange mobile phone. Naruto frowned as he glanced to Sasuke's trouser pocket, noting that he had a phone in there too.

"Teme, what're you-" he was cut off, however, when the present started to vibrate and a tune started playing from inside the box. Naruto looked to Sasuke's orange phone with a small fan phone charm attached. The screen was facing him, showing his name and a number. But Naruto didn't have a phone… Cerulean blue eyes glanced down to present that had stopped vibrating and making a noise as on Sasuke's phone, an automated voicemail person came up.

'We are sorry, but the number you have called cannot be answered at the moment. Please leave a message after the beep' Sasuke put the phone to his ear, eyes locked with blue.

"Merry Christmas, dobe," he told the phone before flipping the phone shut and hanging up. There were a few beeps from inside the box and more vibrations. Naruto swallowed and looked down to the wrapped-up parcel.

"Y-you bought me a phone?" Naruto stuttered, earning a nod from the Uchiha. Naruto blinked at that before a smile overtook his features.

"Teme! You're awesome!" He cheered, diving onto the Uchiha, who just blushed slightly and returned the violent hug gently.

"I never want to hear that voicemail though, Dobe. Every time I ring that phone, I want you to answer it!" he told the blond sternly, who just nodded in return. The blond clambered off the raven and ripped the wrappings off the box, only to open it to a dark blue phone with a red swirl phone charm. Sasuke sat to Naruto's side, slightly nervous as to what the blond thought.

"Is it okay?" he asked, slightly nervously. Naruto nodded with a soft smile on his face.

"It's brilliant; thank-you so much Sasuke," he whispered, turning to face the raven with sparkling blue eyes. Sasuke just smiled gently in return, the two sharing a special, silent moment. The sound of the front door opening had the blond tensing with a small flinch.

"Sasuke? Are you in yet?" Mikoto called. Sasuke saw the way Naruto relaxed when he realised that it wasn't his father.

"Yeah. I'm upstairs!" he yelled back, rolling his eyes at Naruto who seemed to be a bit nervous and was fiddling with the phone charm.

"Dobe, do you want to properly meet my mother outside of hospital settings?" Sasuke asked the blond, who just nodded slightly.

"She won't mind me being here, will she?" he asked quietly, as they made their way down the stairs. Sasuke just slung an arm over the blond's shoulder.

"I'm sure she'd more than happy to help- especially seeing as she's good friends with Jiraiya," Sasuke told the blond, who swallowed and nodded. The two boys arrived in the kitchen and Mikoto looked up with wide eyes as she saw Naruto standing there, fiddling with the hem of his school shirt.

"Good afternoon, Uchiha-san," he greeted with a small bow. Mikoto blinked twice before giggling and approaching the blond.

"There's no need to be so formal Naruto-kun. I treat you at the hospital enough for you to just be able to call me Mikoto," she told the blond softly, noting the barely visible tick in Sasuke's jaw when she mentioned that he'd been treated by her at the hospital enough times for them to be informal with each other. She smiled slightly at her son.

"Calm down, Sasuke," she told her son, who nodded slightly when Naruto looked at him confusedly.

"I'm sorry for imposing," Naruto muttered. Mikoto waved her hand slightly.

"It's quite alright; is your father in a good mood?" she asked with a smile. Her smile dropped at the flinch from the smaller boy and the growl from her son. She blinked at that. Sasuke actually growled! Her son had never done that! Her sharp gaze turned to the blond.

"Naruto-kun, why are you away from him when he's not in a good mood?" she asked coldly. Sasuke turned a glare onto his mother, shoving the blond slightly behind him.

"He's not going back to that house when his father's in a bad mood!" Sasuke snapped, trying to ignore the way that Naruto was shaking behind him. Mikoto turned her stern gaze onto her son.

"You saw what happened when he was twenty minutes late home, Sasuke! What's going to happen when-"

"He's not going home until his father's calmed down!" Sasuke snapped, interrupting his mother. Mikoto gasped at the tone her son was using.

"I'm sorry, I'll go home," Naruto whispered, pulling away. He was stopped as both Uchiha's reached out and grabbed him.

"No you won't!" they told the blond simultaneously, who blinked in return. Sasuke dragged the blond back as his mother let go, looking to her son for an explanation.

"Minato called the school to inform Naruto he was going into a bad mood. His good mood- so to speak of- wanted him out of the house, and I offered Naruto one of our beds," Sasuke calmly told his mother, who sighed in return.

"Fine. But as soon as his father is in a good mood, he needs to go straight back home," she told Sasuke, who nodded in return.

"You have my word," Sasuke replied. Mikoto nodded and pulled out her mobile phone.

"Now, if you don't mind, I have to call Jiraiya to tell him where Naruto is, just in case Minato calls." She told her son, who nodded in return. Naruto was staring at the floor in the awkward silence.

"I really am sorry for imposing Uchiha-san. Are you sure you don't just want me to go home?" he asked the nurse, who smiled gently down at him.

"It's okay Naruto-kun. I was just surprised. I don't want you going home now- you're already an hour late," she tutted, looking for Jiraiya's contact number on her phone.

"I don't mind. I mean, I've imposed without an invite and if I go home now, it's better than if I went home later because then-"

"Dobe. You're staying here until your father has calmed down!" Sasuke snapped, grabbing the blond's tanned arm and dragging him away from a smirking Mikoto.

*~Teacups and Carousels~*…

It was Boxing Day when the phone rang out throughout the Uchiha household. Naruto could briefly register lying in a comfortable bed and faint voices throughout the house as the two people talked on the phone. His head hurt for some unknown reason, but he shook it off as he tried to get back to sleep. A knock on his door deleted all chances as it then opened, revealing a smiling Mikoto with the house phone in her hand.

"Naruto, sweetie, your dad's on the phone," she whispered, making Naruto sigh in relief and sit up.

"Thank you Mikoto," he whispered as she handed him the phone. He put it to his ear, knowing that the man on the other end would be friendly.

"Hey Dad,"

Or so he thought.

"You'd better get your ass back here. Now," was the low growl before the dial tone met his ears. He blinked, not letting anything else show on his face.

"'Kay, I'll see you in a bit," he said to nothing, but pressing the end call button nonetheless. He looked to Mikoto with a small smile and handed her the phone back.

"I need to get going. Thank you so much for the hospitality," he told the woman, standing up and grabbing the clothes he had borrowed from Sasuke over the few days he had been at the house. Mikoto smiled back.

"Do you want me to wake Sasuke so that you can say goodbye?" she asked softly. Naruto blinked before considering the option. But Sasuke knew him too well- he'd be able to see the underlying fear.

"No thanks. You know how Sasuke is when he's woken up- grumpier than a bear on a Tuesday," he joked. Mikoto giggled in return before giving the blond a hug.

"No breakfast?" she asked as they walked past the kitchen. Naruto shook his head, collecting his school bag and shoes.

"No thanks. My dad urgently needs me at home. Thanks for the offer though," he smiled, before opening the door and exiting through it.

"Will you visit again, Naruto-kun?" she asked hopefully. Naruto shrugged and smiled.

"If you want me to," he replied, before waving and jogging down the sidewalk. Mikoto smiled and waved back before going inside, unaware of what was about to happen.

Naruto sprinted down the road, lungs screaming for air as he approached the house. He entered through the front door and closed it, only to be met with a fist to his face.

"Where the fuck have you been?" Minato spat, pulling his fist back for another hit. Naruto took it, looking to the floor.

"I went out," Naruto replied, not meeting his father's eyes.

"Bullshit," the older snarled, fisting the shirt the blond was wearing.

"You were with that fancy boy, Uchiha," he snarled, eying the clothes that were a couple sizes too big on the blond. Naruto shook his head.

"I wasn't. I just went out!" he replied, not wanting his father to have resentment against his best friend. Minato snorted before throwing Naruto across the room, where he landed harshly on the settee. Naruto stood up from the comfortable piece of furniture, straight as a soldier for selection. He was approached by his father and he stood his ground, knowing what was going to come next. His prediction was correct as a fist smashed into his face, making him stumble slightly. He barely had any time to get his bearings before and elbow crashed into the back of his neck, making him breathless. Minato growled at the boy, grabbing his throat tightly enough to leave bruises.

"Don't lie to me!" he growled, launching his son across the room, causing him to smash into the plasma screen television. Naruto coughed slightly, spilling some blood onto the rug.

"I-I'm not lying!" Naruto croaked, trying to stand up, his arms shakily supporting his upper body. Minato growled and landed a solid kick onto his son's elbow. The resounding crack echoed around the room. He grabbed the back of the shirt's collar and hauled Naruto into the bathroom where the tub/shower resided.

"If you don't want to live here then run away you ungrateful brat!" he snapped, smashing Naruto's face onto the edge of the tub, before running the cold water and pulling the knob that made the shower head work. Naruto gasped as the cold water assaulted his body and he was shoved forward so it was raining over his head.

"Please, stop," he gasped as the spray of water was unrelenting, stinging his face.

"Why don't you run away?" Minato screamed, smashing the back of his son's neck with his elbow, causing a mixture of red to be washed down the plug along with the water.

'Please don't turn on the hot water,' Naruto prayed as his father continued to hit him and scream at him.

"Your brother had the right idea! Get the fuck away from this house!" Minato screeched, turning off the cold water and putting it full blast onto the hot. Naruto yelped slightly, but just grit his teeth to refrain from letting any other sounds of discomfort escape.

"Just DIE!" was the final yell from Minato- accompanied with a huge blow to the back of the head- as Naruto passed out into unconsciousness.

When he awoke, it was to the dark bathroom. The water had run cold and a small trickle of blood was making its way onto the tiled floor. His torso was soaked and his head felt as though it had been split into two- it hurt to move- but he needed to see what had gone on. He pushed himself up- left arm protesting quite a bit as he did so- and he gasped as he witnessed the carnage around him. He whimpered, too afraid to go out of the bathroom and see what had transpired. A small vibration in his front pocket caught his attention and he shakily reached into his pocket to pull out the phone he'd been given.

"H-hello?" he asked shakily, shivering as he looked around the darkened house.

"Little brother, I'm coming home," was the voice on the other end. Cerulean blue eyes widened and he glanced down to see that the number was withheld. He went back to ask more questions, but was met with the dial tone. He swallowed slightly and stood up, swaying on the spot slightly. Turning off the shower, Naruto then exited the bathroom to look around the house. He shivered when he realised why it was so cold. The kitchen window had been smashed, letting in the winter breeze. He glanced into the living room, seeing the smashed television and overturned settee. He then wandered into the study- everything was fine in there. He then spotted the door to the back garden, which had been torn from its hinges.

"What the hell?" Naruto groaned, clutching the side of his bleeding head.

"Dad?" Naruto called throughout the house

"DAD!" Naruto yelled when he hadn't received an answer. The blond then started to hyperventilate.

Where was his father? What happened?

A pain erupted at the side of his stomach and he looked down to see a tear in the shirt he was wearing.

"Fuck, Sasuke's going to kill me!" Naruto whispered, before his eyes widened in realisation. He scrambled for the phone in his pocket and pressed the speed dial for the raven.

"C'mon, pick up!" he muttered, as the phone began to ring and his head began to feel fuzzy. He slid down the wall, leaving a red swipe as he did so. He closed his eyes and sighed in relief when the sound of shuffling appeared on the other end.

"N'yello?" asked a tired yawn. Naruto blinked, looking at the time. His eyes widened when he saw that it was almost eleven 'o' clock. He'd been unconscious for nearly twelve hours.

"S-Sasuke," he whispered, leaning against the wall and hissing slightly when more pain came for his side, and he glanced down to see a lot of blood coming from a cut.

"Naruto? Are you okay?" Sasuke asked, panicked. Naruto sighed.

"No, not really," he chuckled, vision going blurry.

"What's wrong? Where are you? Are you hurt?" a fusillade of question marks was sent his way as he tried to focus on something to keep him grounded. He decided on Sasuke's voice and the phone in his hand.

"I-I need some medical help. I'm at home; and yes, I think I've been stabbed," he chuckled, leaning against the wall. There was a sharp intake of breath on the other side.

"Dobe! Where's your dad?" Sasuke asked, panicked. Naruto frowned.

"I-I don't know. I woke up and he wasn't there so-"

"Whoa! What do you mean you 'woke up and he wasn't there'?" Sasuke asked frantically. Naruto sighed before sobbing slightly.

"You were right Sasuke, all along!" Naruto whimpered. On the other end, Sasuke's eyes widened and he sat up in bed, pulling some clothes on.

"What happened?" Sasuke asked once more. Naruto shivered in the slight cold.

"I went home- but he was in a bad mood. He was faking it on the phone to your mother- he knows about his good personality now I suppose," Naruto whispered, finding it harder and harder to stay conscious.

"Fuck! Naruto, try to stay awake, okay? Don't fall asleep!" Sasuke told the blond, rushing out of bed and down the stairs. His mother was working a night shift so he was alone in the house. He ran past the living room, still holding the phone to his ear.

"I'll be there as soon as I can. Try and apply some pressure to the wound!" Sasuke told the blond over the phone, who just sighed in return.

"Please hurry, Sasuke," he whimpered over the phone as he pressed his hands shakily to his side where the majority of the blood was gushing. The creaking of the front door was heard and the blond turned, hoping that it was Sasuke. A pool of dread settled in his stomach when he saw who it was.

It was Jiraiya.

Naruto was instantly on the defensive.

"Jiraiya! It's not it looks like! We were going to be robbed but the guy made off with-" he was cut off with a growl and the Chief of Police leant forward, grabbing Sasuke's shirt, pulling out a small wire and camera from within the fold of the fabric.

"Don't lie, Naruto- we have evidence now," Jiraiya growled once more. Naruto looked to the phone that was still connected; he pressed it to his ear, to hear that Sasuke was outside and running.

"Naruto? Are you still awake?" Sasuke yelled down the line. Naruto didn't answer but just closed the phone and placed it on the floor.

"He betrayed me," Naruto whispered, looking to Jiraiya with broken blue eyes.

"Where's dad?" he asked the older man, who ignored him and just removed the tan hand from the wound to cover it with an ace bandage.

"JIRAIYA! WHERE'S MY PAPA!" Naruto yelled, completely losing it. Jiraiya flinched but ignored the blond who had started to thrash.

"Answer me dammit!" Naruto yelled, trying to sit up, despite the gash in his side. Tears made their way down his scarred cheeks.

"Where's my daddy," he whimpered brokenly. Jiraiya looked to the blond, whose eyes had glazed over in memory.

"Kyuubi, where's Daddy?" Naruto whispered, staring straight ahead now.

"He's never at home any more. When he is home, he's always mean. Where's our Daddy gone Kyuubi?" Naruto whispered. Jiraiya's eyes widened in shock and his breathing became shallow when the blond started crying from wide, glazed eyes.

"Take me away Kyuubi. Wherever you've been, I want to go!" Naruto protested, now whining softly. The front door to the house burst open and Jiraiya looked to the Uchiha that had burst in, a redheaded adult standing behind him.

"Why would he do that to me Kyuubi- I feel so dirty. I always do," Naruto whispered, earning everyone's attention. The adult behind Sasuke gasped and approached the blond.

"Naruto? Naru?" the redhead asked, placing a large hand on scarred cheeks. Tears were felt on the calloused hands of the older man.

"I don't like it when he moves inside me. It hurts!" Naruto cried out, shaking his head from side to side. Sasuke had to stop himself from throwing up there and then. Naruto had been raped at some point. He stared at the redhead, who was stroking blond locks as Jiraiya called for medical assistance.

"It's okay Naruto; your big brother is here," the man- Kyuubi- whispered. Sasuke approached the blond and redhead, shocked.

"Kyuubi-san, is it okay to-" Murky brown eyes locked with onyx and Sasuke shrunk back slightly, but was relieved when Kyuubi pulled him forward and stepped back himself. Sasuke knelt down before the blond who was shaking violently, scratching at his arms.

"I feel so dirty Kyuubi. Am I wrong? What did I do wrong?" he asked, still scratching at his arms, eyes glazed over in memory still. Sasuke felt his heart break and he pulled the blond closer, feeling how cold his skin was.

"It's okay Naru, you're going to be okay," Sasuke whispered, rubbing the blond's back. A heart-wrenching sob escaped from the blond and he thrashed in Sasuke's hold.

"PLEASE DON'T DO IT DADDY! I'M SORRY!" he screamed into the Uchiha's neck. Sasuke just pulled the blond closer, squeezing his eyes shut as Naruto continued to ride out the mental storm that was consuming his soul.

"Don't touch me! DON'T CUT ME!" he all but screeched.

"I PROMISE I WON'T RUN AWAY! I PROMISE!" Everybody in the room flinched and Sasuke felt tears stain his own cheeks as a long drawn-out scream erupted from the blond, followed by uncontrolled sobbing into the Uchiha's neck.

"It's okay Naruto," he whispered, carding his fingers through the downy blond locks. Naruto hiccupped and sobbed, even as he was taken away by the emergency services. Sasuke and Kyuubi rode in the ambulance, along with Jiraiya. As soon as they arrived, Sasuke was attacked by his mother.

"What happened to him?" she worried as she saw her colleague wheeling the yelling and sobbing blond into a hospital room. Sasuke sighed and hugged his mother gently.

"I caught his father. We have evidence. But Naruto was stabbed," he told his mother, still shaking.

"Why's he acting like that?" she worried, trying to get a peek over her son's shoulder- a son that was about five inches taller than she was. Sasuke shivered, the scream forefront in his memory.

"H-he went into a mental relapse," Sasuke shuddered before he ran to the nearest bin and threw up. Mikoto squeaked and ran over to her son, rubbing his back.

"Sasuke, what's wrong?" she asked, worried. Sasuke shivered and wrapped his arms around himself.

"N-Naruto was raped by his father!" he gasped, throwing up again. Mikoto paled.

"How do you know?" she asked, feeling a little sick herself. Sasuke shook his head.

"He s-said when he was relapsing!" he gasped and looked up when a strong hand fell onto his shoulder.

"Are you okay, Sasuke-kun?" Kyuubi asked the younger boy, who just nodded in return, accepting the bottle of water held out to him. Mikoto squeaked and turned to the older male.

"Kyuubi-kun!" she gasped, pressing a hand to her chest. Kyuubi nodded in recognition to the woman and turned to Sasuke.

"I want to thank you for helping me get my dad," he told the raven, who just nodded in return.

"Believe me, it wasn't easy. Naruto always forgave him," he told the redhead, who nodded in return and looked towards the blond's hospital room. Sasuke opened his mouth to ask another question, but Kyuubi cut him off.

"He's stable, but asleep. And he'll be living with me when he's healthy," Kyuubi told the youth, who nodded, some of his questions answered. Not all of them, however.

"Will I still be able to see him? Whereabouts do you live? Where have you been all this time?" Sasuke asked, wanting to know everything. Kyuubi eyed him warily.

"Yes. Just down the road from you. Trying to win custody of Naruto." He answered each question in the order in which they were asked. Sasuke blinked before he growled.

"How come you never tried to help him?" he hissed. Kyuubi flinched.

"Because I'm a coward. I ran away, hoping to leave it all behind. But now I'm going to be with him every step of the way," Kyuubi whispered determinedly. Sasuke nodded and swallowed.

"You'd better be!" he whispered, earning a pat on the shoulder from the older male and the two locked eyes, understanding flashing between them. They were brought out of their reverie, however, when there was a screaming from within Naruto's room. The two males rushed in- followed by Mikoto- to see that Naruto was sitting up in bed and ripping the wires from his skin.

"Where am I? Why am I at the hospital?! WHERE'S MY DAD?!" he yelled, looking to the three that had entered. Mikoto was by Naruto's side instantly, trying to restrain the boy.

"Calm down Naruto-kun. You were stabbed and your father is in custody. We managed to capture him," Mikoto soothed, rubbing the blond's cheeks slightly.

"It's okay," she let out a shaky laugh at the blond's shocked face. Naruto then turned to Sasuke, looking to the raven that had a slight smile on his face, and then to his older brother who was looking nervous.

"Traitors," was the whisper that was barely heard. The smiles dropped and Kyuubi frowned.

"ALL OF YOU!" Naruto roared, shoving Mikoto back and standing from his bed. Sasuke yelled out in shock, going to catch his mother.

"What the fuck, Naruto?!" Sasuke roared at the blond.

"I SHOULD BE THE ONE ASKING THAT!" Naruto yelled in return. Mikoto stood up straight and faced the blond.

"Naruto-kun, get back into that hospital bed! You'll burst your stitches!" she snapped.

"Fuck you! Fuck you all!" Naruto spat, turning to rush out of his room before his upper arm was caught by Sasuke's strong grip.

"Don't you speak to my mother that way; gypsy boy!" Sasuke spat, glaring into cerulean blue that looked slightly hurt.

"I trusted you, you fucker!" Naruto snapped at him, struggling against the grip on his arm.

"I trusted all of you not to tell anyone!" he yelled, starting to pull harder and twist in the raven's grip. Sasuke's eyes widened. He'd always thought the blond and he had a mutual agreement of friendship- he didn't know when the blond had started to trust him.

"I…I didn't-"

"IT'S TOO LATE! I WAS FINE ON MY OWN! I KNEW IT WAS STUPID OF ME TO ACTUALLY TRUST SOMEONE FOR ONCE!" Naruto screamed, once more reduced to tears. Sasuke released his grip on the tanned arm and swallowed.

"AND YOU!" Naruto yelled, rounding on his older brother, who just looked ashamed.

"Where the fuck have you been all these years?" Naruto hissed venomously. Kyuubi sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets.

"Naruto, I know you have every right to be angry- even furious- right now. But think about it. In the long run; you'll be living with me and you won't be abused anymore," Kyuubi told his little brother, stepping forward slightly. Naruto's bottom lip trembled.

"Don't say that!" he whined, covering his ears.

"I wasn't abused! I was being punished!" Naruto yelled.

Everybody froze as Naruto sat on the edge of his bed, sobbing into his hands.

"It was my fault! It was all my fault!" he cried, stunning the room into silence. Sasuke went to approach the blond, but was pushed out of the way by Kyuubi, who then took a seat next to the blond and wrapped a hand around the shaking shoulders.

"Hey, it wasn't your fault- it never was," Kyuubi whispered to the blond, pulling him to his chest. Mikoto swallowed slightly and covered her mouth to conceal a small sob.

"It was all my fault she died!" he howled, burying himself further into Kyuubi's chest, wanting to just lose himself in the smell of comfort and nostalgia that his brother's deodorant threw into his mind.

"It was never your fault Naruto. Please believe me when I say that," Kyuubi whispered, pressing a soft kiss into blond locks. Sasuke swallowed and sat down next to the blond, placing a hand on his knee for a gesture of comfort.

"I'm sorry, Naruto," he whispered, squeezing the knee slightly, relieved when it wasn't thrown off. Mikoto watched the sight with slightly sad eyes.

"At last. It's finally over," she whispered, locking eyes with murky brown, a small smile overtaking their features. It was over now.

Naruto was going to be safe.

*~Teacups and Carousels~*…

Two Years Later…

The blond woke up, slightly groggy. He looked to his right and noticed that sunlight was filtering through the peach coloured curtains of his room, and he just groaned, burying himself deeper into the confines of his orange bedsheets. A knock on his bedroom door dragged him from his sleep-hazed state and he just groaned once more before rolling over to glance at the tall redhead who was standing in the doorway, a tray of breakfast in his hands.

"Mornin' little brother," he told the blond cheerily, who just moaned and turned back over. Kyuubi grinned and approached the blond that was refusing to wake up.

"If you don't get up, I'll just have to eat all this ramen by myself," he said in a mock sad voice. It worked like a charm. Naruto was sitting up and had snatched the tray away from the waiting hands before proceeding to inhale the instant noodles at an unhealthy pace. Kyuubi smiled and ruffled the hair of the now eighteen-year-old blond.

"How much did you drink last night?" Kyuubi asked teasingly. Naruto groaned and faced his brother.

"I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't know what I'd been doing!" he replied. Kyuubi chuckled.

"Please, little brother. As your guardian, I should be aware when you attend a drinking party- especially seeing as it was me who picked you and Sasuke up when you two got so hammered," the redhead snorted, earning an unappreciative moan from the blond in the bed.

"Where is the bastard?" Naruto asked, looking around as if the raven would magically appear.

"Downstairs, nursing one of the world's worst hangovers," Kyuubi stated with a smirk. Naruto snorted.

"At least I don't have a headache," he replied happily, collapsing backwards, only to smack his head against the headboard.

"Ah fuck!" he moaned, grabbing the back of his head, earning a laugh from his older brother. A shuffling of feet on carpet drew their attention to the doorway, where Sasuke was leaning against the frame, hand clutching the side of his head.

"Please be quiet," he moaned, looking to the blond on the bed who was shirtless and clutching at his own head. A barely-existent blush formed on the raven's cheeks and he smirked slightly.

"Hangover?" Sasuke asked smugly, earning a smug grin in return.

"Nope, just smacked my head on the headboard," he told the raven, who snorted.

"That's even worse- because that's caused by your own stupidity, dobe," he teased, earning a playful growl in return. Kyuubi eyed the two warily, taking note of the actions, how they were playful yet almost affectionate.

"Are you two a couple?" he asked. Naruto spluttered, cheeks turning an interesting shade of red. Sasuke wasn't faring much better, but his reaction was much more subdued.

"Hn, as if a dobe like him would be able to pull me," he smirked, a challenging glint in his eye. Kyuubi blinked at the look and turned to his younger brother, who was growling.

"Teme! I'd so be able to pull you!" Naruto snapped in return, irritation increasing as Sasuke just rose an eyebrow.

"Of course- let's just remember who has the fan club here, dobe," Sasuke muttered, before he was pounced upon by the blond. He blinked a couple of times when he felt something heavy against his lips. He looked up into equally shocked eyes that were widening with each passing second. Kyuubi was making odd choking sounds in the background as neither of the two boys were trying to pry themselves apart. Eventually, after what felt like hours to the two boys, they broke apart, dramatically gasping for air.

"NO! I've had my lip virginity stolen by a bastard!" Naruto proclaimed dramatically. Sasuke just paled.

"I'm going to turn into a dobe! No!" he whispered in an upset voice. Kyuubi peeked through his hands at the two boys who were now crying slightly, but with a slight tinge to their cheeks. He sighed and scratched his cheek.

"Well this silence is awkward," he proclaimed.

"I hear ya," Naruto replied, glancing to the raven that was looking around the room.

"Soooo," the blond dragged out, looking around at his room also.

"This is really awkward," Sasuke muttered, earning a hum of agreement from the other two in the room.

"Boom, boom, boom, boom; I want you in my room. Let's spend the night together; from now until forever!" The three boys looked to Naruto's bedside table where his phone was currently vibrating and flashing, playing the ridiculous tune.

"Well that's a way to break the ice," Kyuubi shrugged as Naruto answered his phone.

"N'yello?" he asked the person on the other end.

"I don't what you and Uchiha are doing, but I can feel the awkwardness from the other end of town!" Kiba snapped, earning a frustrated growl and the blond hung up.

"Who was it?" Sasuke asked the blond, who had adorned a sour expression.

"Apparently we're giving off 'Awkward Vibes'," he muttered, earning a concealed snort from Kyuubi.

"You do that just by breathing," he told the blond. There was an even heavier silence after that as Naruto looked downcast and Kyuubi realised his mistake.

"Shit! Naru, I didn't mean it like that!" he protested. Naruto nodded.

"I-I know, I'm just trying to adjust still," he whispered. Sasuke sighed and stood next to the blond.

"Don't worry Naruto. It's not your fault. And we'll be with you every step of the way until you've fully healed," Sasuke told the blond, pulling him into a one armed hug. Naruto snorted.

"Teme, I'm not a girl," he replied lightly. Sasuke smiled down at him and Kyuubi just rolled his eyes.

"Whatever you say princess," he muttered, earning a shove from his little brother.

"But thanks- both of you," he whispered, fiddling with his hands. Sasuke and Kyuubi just smiled slightly at one another before standing on each side of the blond, placing a hand on his shoulder each.

"There's nothing to thank us for," Kyuubi told Naruto, ruffling the blond hair once more. Naruto protested slightly and ducked out of the way.

"Dude, you're gunna mess up my hair!" he protested. Sasuke just snorted.

"Your hair's already messed up dobe," he retorted, poking the blond's scarred cheeks. Naruto growled playfully before stalking downstairs for a glass of milk.

"You're both assholes! Why do I put up with you?" he called from downstairs. The older two just smiled at one another and shrugged.

"C'mon, you love us as assholes and you know it!" Sasuke called down, following the blond into the kitchen, leaving Kyuubi on his own to stare after them. A small smile graced his face, as he thought of his family- not complete- but whole in the sense of having one another there for them. Minato was in an institute, but they were allowed to see him on his good days; and their mother's grave wasn't moving anywhere. Mikoto and Sasuke were a new addition, but loved just as much in every way. The redhead glanced to the photo frame of his younger self and he smiled a little before placing it face down. It was time to go out with the old and in with the new.

They were slowly moving on- because the future ahead of them was bright.

Shining and new.

WA'HEY! Happy ending :') I'd just like to thank everyone who reviewed, alerted and favourited this story. Even though it's two chapters, it's still pretty long!

So, thank you to:

Kativa-chan, Lemtard-513, Babywolfchick1142, gangsta princess, Juura99, sathreal, BeeBee Forthwright, isis-yolly, DZIEWCZYNA GANGSTERA, Jess the Weird, Randomperson, Akirakun17, KagomeGirl021, lolipopcandylala, Kitty20, MiuBlaze, WRONG –SHERLOCK, NaomiNagasaki, StrawberriesAndCinnamonJAM, KariNeko, vampydarkangel, Kuroki-Ryomi, InoYamanaka1, JustARunaway, Redfoxshadow, WinterValentine

For your reviews, favourites and/or alerts!

And just to let you know, I think that's the most I've ever had with one story/chapter ^_^ So I'm happy.

Also, if you read this after it's completed, I'm still very appreciative of reviews and feedback (yes this is a review whore speaking, how may I help?)

Just once more, thanks for the views and stuff! And, if you like my other stories (read above parenthesis for comment on that part there) the next one I will be updating is either 'A Century of Words' or 'Fighting Darkness 2'.

And before I forget! If anybody wants to kindly make me a cover for this piece of work, I'd be extremely appreciative of it! I'll even write a request for the person who does- 'cause y'know, the picture that shows up at the moment is my DP- Sasuke riding a green Llama; and however pissing-myself-hilarious that is, I don't think it sends out the right message for this fic XD

So, I'll be writing again soon and well, as my friend wrote in my leaver's book:

Have a good life,

Don't let the rape faces catch you.

Good luck in college/uni whatever.

Don't die a sad and lonely shark.

May the force be with you!