Ren-sama's Note:

Alright! Thank you for the comments about Sasuke's appearance and Yahiko's 'bastardly' attitude. Here's the next chapter!

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Chapter 7

I can feel the whole world crumbling upon me. My world… I know it was fucked up, but I still liked it… I never knew it was not a world at all, but just a simple ball of sand that would be ravished by the raging waves at any time. It was all so superficial…

Yahiko was my lover for two years now, since I confessed to him when I was fifteen. I can feel my eyes watering, but I refuse to cry. The Namikazes are just too stubborn to cry. I won't show any form of weakness in front of this guy who dared turn his back on me without any explanation. This guy who caused the waves of the ocean to crush my little sanctuary. This guy whom I thought was the most perfect creature that God had made. This guy who was in front of me, looking partly guilty and partly apologetic though he knew he shouldn't.

"The least you could have done… was inform me, Yahiko." I can hear and feel my voice get colder and colder. I will never succumb to this exhausting and gut-wrenching pain inside my chest. I'd rather turn cold than to wail in front of him like a child who lost his favorite pet. I'm a teenager, not to mention I am a Namikaze. The least I can do is fight.

I can see his clenched jaw. The woman, from the look on her eyes, knew that Yahiko and I have– no, had, a relationship. She knew it and yet…

"Yahiko, I challenge you to a fight." I gave him my coldest gaze ever, which I only saved for my most hated enemies in my previous school, and I reveled at the fact that he flinched. I heard a set of clapping hands and I knew without looking that it was Sai. Damn fucking Sai.

"Naruto..You… You didn't have to make it…" Yahiko looked like he was struggling to find the right words. "To make it worse for the both of us." And that was my cue.

I attacked. Head-on.

I knew from the moment he tensed up that he was ready to counter. I immediately shifted in my position and ducked just in time to avoid his defensive punch. The woman walked far away to get out of the fight's range. I have been sparring with him for some time now that I already know how he moves, just as he knows how I do. I've never won against him before, but I'm planning on starting to do that now. I can hear, from the background, some annoying comments coming from Sai or from Suigetsu and some are from Sasuke, but I paid them no mind. I know I'll lose this fight if I ever broke my concentration here.

We received some of each other's punches and kicks and blocked some of the others. We continued our little heated dance as warm crimson liquid started appearing from his face and arms, mirroring my condition very well. I know he's beyond my league. But I couldn't stop. I have to beat the hell out of him, and that urge was far too strong for me to resist. We never stopped from attacking and we stopped trying to block each other's punches and kicks after some minutes. It was pure, raw offensive fighting without any form of defense.

I can feel my knees tremble and my whole body is quietly shaking from fatigue and pain, but I don't care. I know he is the same anyway. I can feel my eyes burning with silent rage. Why, though? I'm so sure I want to kick the hell out of him, but still… why can't I hate him? I know he ditched me for another girl without even an explanation. And yet… And yet, I couldn't deny that I still… love him…

Damn you, Yahiko! The least you could have done was tell straight to my face that you don't love me anymore! You should have told me you don't like males anymore and wanted to switch to dating females! I would have been angry but at least I wouldn't have to look like an idiot in front of everyone! All this time… All this time I thought of you as everything… I… thought for sure that you love me too…

Damn it! I should concentrate on the fight! I gave him my most powerful punch, knowing that I won't have the power to ever bring another in case it wasn't enough, and hit him full on the face. And I guess he wasn't expecting the punch to have that much power behind it. He stumbled backward and landed on his butt. He wasn't knocked out but I dealt a hard blow. He looked dizzy.

I stood there, quietly staring at his bloodied face, wishing I could wipe the blood and the pain off. But it is too late for the both of us now, especially when the woman ran beside him in an instant and wiped the blood off his face. I should be the one doing that… He looked at her apologetically, yet warmly. I should be the one receiving that look… I should have been the one beside him… And yet… he never even looked at me the entire time. He only did when she was already finished. I want to vomit everything I ate ever since this morning. I feel so awful. I feel so hurt and betrayed…

Aniki, your friend is a bastard…

"Naruto?" What now? I looked up and saw Shikamaru looking at me with wide eyes. Beside him were Chouji and Kiba with the same expressions. Oh. I forgot. I was supposed to meet with them after I tell my aniki that I would be coming home late so he better not wait for me anymore.

"Wha–? This..?" Kiba seemed to have forgotten how to form a complete sentence. I was intending to answer, really, and explain everything to them later. But the damn boy in the name of fucking Sai beat me into it.

"Naru-chan got ditched and he went wild." He said with a chuckle and I gave him my hardest glare ever, bloodied and all. He just grinned back at me though, as if that didn't work on him as it did on Yahiko. Damn fucking Sai. I can feel Sasuke smirked on my other side but I didn't dare look at him. He is far too annoying to look at right now. And on top of that, I won't dare fight him in my barely-standing-up condition. Like I said, I am reckless, but I'm not suicidal.

"I'll explain." I said as I walked passed Yahiko and his 'girlfriend'. You might think it is a bit too immature of me to overly dramatize the word. But I can't help it. I'm bitter because I was ditched. And maybe fucking Sai was right. I went wild, just a little though.

Chouji looked really worried. Kiba still hasn't recovered from the shock and Shikamaru was stupefied, with furrowed eyebrows and all. I passed them completely before I turned and smiled. "I'll explain over a cup of ice cream. Would you like to come?"

Shikamaru's furrowed eyebrows relaxed a little. "Sure. Your treat?"

"Of course not, Pineapple head." I answered, still smiling. He arched an eyebrow at me before he smiled as well. Kiba looked dejected at my words though. It seemed he thought I was really going to buy them ice cream. Chouji still looked worried. "Let's go, guys."

I started walking and they all followed. I stopped though when Yahiko called me. Oh, don't get me wrong and think that I was too lenient. I stopped but I didn't turn around to look at him. See the difference?

"I'm sorry." He said quietly. "I really do."

I put my hands in my pants' pockets and started walking away. I didn't answer him and I knew he wasn't expecting one.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I gulped a large chunk of ice cream, making my head spin a little at the sudden cold sensation. My chapped lips stung at the contact with the cold, but it also somehow felt refreshing.

"You mean Yahiko-san was your lover!? That guy who was the right hand man of one of the coldest Knight ever alive!?" Kiba blurted out a little too louder than necessary and I immediately glared at him, making him bit his lower lip. I just finished telling them my and Yahiko's little fucked up story, though it obviously didn't have a happy ending.

I never told them anything about aniki though. I know he wouldn't want to get caught up in the deal between Yahiko and I. If the Knight would take revenge in place of Yahiko, then I'd gladly accept it. I don't care, really. All I wanted was to beat the crap out of him, which I just did, though he was able to beat the crap out of me as well.

"Are you sure you're alright now?" Chouji asked quietly. I was patched up and treated rather briskly by old hag Tsunade earlier in the Infirmary before we went to the cafeteria.

"And why is Sasuke-sama there, by the way?" Shikamaru asked after some moments of silence.

I looked up at him, and let out an exasperated expression. "That annoying stuck up bastard is just too annoying and I–"

"Naruto!" Chouji quickly hushed me up by covering my mouth. "Why would you say something like that in public? Do you want people to gang up on us and beat the crap out of us for good?" I shook my head. He sighed and removed his hands.

"Okay, let's stop talking about him then." Shikamaru said with a yawn. And who's fault was it that the topic was opened in the first place?

"So that was your boyfriend… I didn't know you swing that way…" We all looked at Kiba who seemed to be talking to himself more than talking to us. "Was that the reason why he's lenient to you?"

"Hah!?" I exclaimed a little too louder for my liking and, once again, some of heads on the other tables turned to our direction. "Does it look like he's lenient? No one has ever beaten me up this badly in my entire life!" I exaggerated of course. Aniki always beats me to a pulp whenever we're sparring, which always earns him an earful of scolding from mother. But we still sparred after some days.

"You mean he treated you seriously?" Shikamaru asked again.

"I've sparred with him quite enough to know whether he's serious or not." I answered. "Holding back against me will only make his situation worse. I hate it when he holds back at me, though he often did that at practice. And besides, I challenged him as a Fighter, even if I didn't let him refuse. So there's no way for him to act like it's still practice."

They nodded in understanding.

I sighed. "Okay, okay. I'm not sure if he held back. But what I am sure of is the fact that Yahiko is a very prideful man. I doubt if he'd ever let me beat the crap out of him in front of a Knight and his girlfriend just because he's guilty. Though his guilt may have been too great… I don't know…"

"Let's forget about that for now!" Chouji said enthusiastically. "Let's eat to our heart's desire!" Shikamaru and Kiba both nodded in agreement and I grinned at them, my chapped lips stinging in pain as I did. Right now, I have to maintain my façade. I don't want to break in front of my newly found friends. The fact that I shared my story with them was enough for me. That was already a huge chunk of thorn removed from my system. And that's enough help. I'd wait until I'm home and in the comfort of my room before I let everything out. I'd wait until I'm in bed. There is no need to think about it just yet.

And after everything was finished, I think I would want to have a chat with aniki again. I need him to explain things for me. There is so much he's hiding and I want to know all about it. Why didn't he tell me anything? Why did he lie and said that Yahiko is not going to school anymore? Why did he say that Yahiko refuses to see me? I know now that he knows that Yahiko has another lover. But he remained silent… I don't want to think ill of aniki, so I want to ask him directly. If his reasons are valid enough, then I'd cry on his shoulders all night. But if his reasons were only made because he's protecting Yahiko, then a good spar will settle things.

I ate my ice cream until the cup looked clean again, without a single speck of the sweet stuff I just ate. Did I say I like ice creams? Yep, I like them very much, especially if eaten with a broken heart. It's amazing how it can ease some of the pain. It's the cold but sweet remedy, I tell you.

"So, where are we going next?" Chouji asked.

"I think I know the right place to hang out." Kiba answered as he grinned.

"Where?" Shikamaru asked in suspicion. "And if it's a bar, we're minors."

"We can fake it." Kiba chuckled. "And besides, we are still customers, no matter what they say. They'll let us in." Shikamaru sighed, knowing it would be troublesome if we're caught. Chouji chuckled, but clearly not rejecting the idea.

"Shall we go there then?" I asked, clearly up to the challenge. They all looked at me with mild astonishment. I blinked. "What?"

"Naruto, I didn't think you'd be the reckless type…" Chouji said. Shikamaru nodded, still looking at me with narrowed eyes.

I chuckled. "Don't worry, I might be reckless. But I'm not suicidal." Kiba grinned at that.

"Let's go then!" Kiba exclaimed, making more heads turn in our direction. He closed his mouth and pretended to be yawning.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It was already dark when we decided to go home. Kiba was hell drunk and Chouji was staggering on the streets. Only Shikamaru, who was the one who consumed alcohol the most, looked sane. I won't even think he is drunk if I can't smell heavy alcohol coming from his mouth. And before you ask, no, I didn't purposefully inhaled his breath. I might not have a boyfriend anymore but that doesn't mean I would do something really stupid such as that. I could just smell it every time he talks, okay? And so I commuted on the way home, a little drunk, but not so much. I'm not even staggering, but I know my brother will notice. That's fine. He drank too when he was still a minor and I didn't tell our parents. The one person I don't want to notice me is haha-ue. She'd kill me if she learned I went to a bar, and on top of that, drank alcoholic stuff despite being a minor. Chichi-ue will just give me his coldest glare, but it is haha-ue who would really make this small incident really big. It might even become the headline of the newspaper tomorrow if I'm not careful.

And so, when I entered the house, I was careful not to make them suspect me of anything. Chichi-ue is at work, good thing. Haha-ue is in the kitchen, clearly preparing something for dinner. Aniki is nowhere, so I suppose he is in his room. Good.

"I'm home." I voiced.

"Oh, Naruto. You're late!" She called from the kitchen.

"I went to hang out with some friends." I answered. I immediately went upstairs before she can sense that there is something wrong. After all, even a child will know there is something wrong if he sees me with bandages. I was still in the middle of the stairs when I heard my aniki's voice.

"You're drunk." I bit my lower lip. He is probably the most sensitive person in the house. I looked up and saw him leaning on the wall, at the top of the stair. His eyes narrowed when he saw the bandages on my arms and the patches on my cheeks and temple.

"Aniki." I said, not really knowing how to answer that. There's no way I would lie to him, and he would've sensed it anyway. I continued walking upstairs until I passed by him.

"Is he really that important to you that you're willing to disobey haha-ue? Are you really an idiot to pick a fight with him, Naruto?" He asked with a scolding voice. So he knows after all, about Yahiko and that woman. And I was the only one who didn't… I glared at him, the coldest glare I could possibly muster when facing my aniki. I passed by him completely now and was walking towards my room when he caught up to me. "Naruto. Are you going to ignore me now?" His voice was quiet but I could feel the strain on it. He is agitated and angry.

I sighed. "Why didn't you tell me? I looked like an idiot earlier, do you know that? I was the only one who didn't know anything. I looked like a fucking idiot, aniki!" I entered my room was about to close it behind me when aniki used his foot to stop the door from closing. "What do you want!?" I exclaimed in frustration. I don't want to get angry at him now. I want to ask him about everything, but I can't help it. Everything about the whole event is frustrating, annoying, not to mention upsetting.

"If you continue shouting like that, haha-ue will go up here and ask if we're fighting again." He calmly answered as he entered the room like it is his. Though when he closed it behind him he looked like he didn't know if he would sit or just remain there standing.

I sighed before I lay on my stomach on the bed. "Explain everything, aniki…"

He looked at me for a while before he took the chair to my study table and sat on it beside the bed. He sighed before he started. "Do you remember the day when we last went to the beach?" I looked at him, not knowing where this is going, but I nodded. I remembered that was the start of summer break. It was really nice. Aniki, Yahiko, and I went to the beach and enjoyed the first day of summer vacation. And that was the last time I saw Yahiko, until earlier.

He sighed. "Tell me what happened."

I arched an eyebrow. He was supposed to be explaining things to me, not making me recall some beach experience we had. But since he is aniki, I know he is taking things slowly. He is a very cautious man, though also a bit reckless like me. Yep, he is the epitome of extreme opposites. "We enjoyed the beach… It was really fun…" I voiced. I can vividly remember what happened and it is making it hard for me to accept that Yahiko is no longer mine. He looked really happy then, though a bit distant. "Yahiko looked distant even if he was enjoying… He left early and we followed after some hours. The end."

He closed his eyes. "I drove us home using my motorcycle and you passed out on your bed the moment your back hit it." My eyes twitched at that. He opened his eyes again, voice still serious and calm, as well his face. "…While I went to Yahiko's house in order to know if there was a problem. He might be a strong man, but he is still a little too stubborn sometimes. So I went to ask him about it. What I saw there was something I didn't think I would ever see though."

That piqued my curiosity. I sat up and looked at him fully. He sighed, and I immediately knew that it was hard for him to explain, before he continued. "I was used to just walking in his house like I own it. The key was under the flower vase just beside his door so I took it and opened the door. I was about to call him when I heard his voice in his room. It was open and I didn't think I'd walk in on him and another of our friend having sex."

I took the news calmly. From the moment I heard the word bedroom, somehow it all clicked in my head. Oh, don't tell me that my mind is always in the gutter, though it really is. But still, that proved to be helpful because I was able to prepare myself for the news.

"Are you okay?" Nagato asked me and I nodded, silently urging him to continue because right now, I really do not trust my voice. "I'll continue." I nodded again. "They still didn't realize I was there and they were doing it. Konan was the first to notice me because Yahiko had his back to the door. She immediately covered herself with the sheet just in time for Yahiko to look at me. Before he can even explain anything, I was already at the foot of the bed. My vision went blank back then. I beat him to a pulp and the next thing I knew Konan was begging me to stop or I'd kill him. He's your lover… He was supposed to be my younger brother's lover… And yet… he betrayed you. He betrayed me. No one betrays the Namikaze siblings and gets away with it unharmed."

My eyes widened. Aniki's voice was slightly quivering. He is angry for me. And I feel like I really want to hug aniki right now. I feel so touched at his words. Oh, aniki… "I threatened him not to show his face to you ever again." Aniki smirked. Scary. "Of course, he'd never dare disobey me. He just saw how I am when truly angered. And he promised not to show you his face ever again. I didn't mean to lie to you. I just couldn't tell you what happened. So I told you that he doesn't go to school anymore so I will have no excuse if he's not with me every time I come home. I also said he doesn't want to come out of his house because I know you'd try to come and see him."

I can feel myself trembling. I didn't realize it, that I'm actually crying, until aniki leaned closer and wiped my tears. "Sorry, Naruto. I just wanted to protect you." He was about to go back to his seat when I hugged him, making him lean on the bed instead. I hugged him tight, so tight that if it was any other person, he'd surely be choking now. But aniki is aniki, and he is strong. He can take a choking hug from me like it is nothing.

He patted my head and I started sobbing, still clinging to him. "Sorry." He said again. And I only sobbed harder. I'm not used to hearing my aniki looking or sounding pained. I can't help it. I know I was supposed to only cry because of Yahiko's infidelity, but I know he hurt aniki too. He stepped on aniki's trust… How dare he?

"Naruto, you really smell of alcohol." He added, his voice sounding amused now. I can't help but chuckle in between my sobs. "Haha-ue will explode if she learned it."

"Don't tell her. Or I'll tell her that you made me cry again. She'll give us both an earful." I voiced hoarsely. He chuckled and I chuckled too.

"Don't cry because of him, Naruto. It makes me want to beat the crap out of him even more." He said.

I looked at him. "Aniki, do you know that Yahiko is a right-hand man of a Knight? A friend of mine said so. And he's clearly an A Class."

"Yes. I didn't think he'd beat an F Class though." He answered. I chuckled. I was about to correct him about my class level when I remembered to ask another question.

"Aniki, do you know who this Knight that he serve is? Surely you know?" I asked, hoping he would tell me.

"It's not important. It's better if you don't associate yourself with the Knights. They'll only bring you trouble." He answered. I'm not an idiot, so I know he purposefully evaded the question. It's fine though. I have no interest in those Knights anyway, or whoever is the one Yahiko served. It is not my business anymore. He is not my business anymore.

"I beat him up though he beat me up pretty well too." I subtly changed the topic.

"Yes, though he didn't tell me he beat you too. And I was so happy when I saw him limping while sporting a bloody face." He gritted his teeth. "I should've have beaten him earlier too."

I chuckled despite myself. Aniki was too overprotective it is almost making me blush. "If you did that, then he really won't be able to go to school anymore. He'll be stuck in the hospital for the rest of his life." He smirked, clearly enjoying the image it conveyed. Somehow, I don't feel that aniki is expecting any less than Yahiko going to the hospital… Scary!

He then looked at my bandages. He slowly unwrapped them and looked at the now shallow bruises. My injuries aren't hurting anymore except the cut on my lip. I'm really glad of the Namikaze blood that flows in my veins. It is a blessing.

"Don't worry, it'll heal soon." He said, and then he has a very strange expression on his face. "Naruto, he told me you're with Sasuke Uchiha earlier when he saw you. Care to explain?"

I pouted. He want me to explain things to him and yet he doesn't want to explain his side to me. "You're unfair, aniki. You know that?" He nodded, but still expected me to answer his question. I sighed. "I just met him by accident. That idiotic Sai, argh! That annoying Sai really did it this time!"

"You know him too?" He asked, a little worried for me. "Naruto, it's better to stay away from them, especially Sasuke Uchiha. You don't know what he'll do to you once he sets his eyes on you. Stay far, far away from him. Do you understand? I know it might sound like I have no trust in your ability, but that boy and his pawns are far too dangerous for you to hang out with."

"Don't worry, aniki. I can take care of myself." Well, most of the time. "And besides, they are not my friends. We just met by accident. I don't think that Sasuke bastard will even remember me." It worked. His face relaxed and I grinned at him.

And before I knew it, his face was contorted to something confused and curious now. Man, aniki's face is always so busy. "Naruto, where did you learn to talk using such a foul language? You never talk like that back when you're studying in Konoha Academy."

I bit my lower lip again, though not that hard because it still hurt. "I… I think I got it from the bastards who wanted nothing but fight me all day." Of course, he doesn't look too happy at all to hear that.

"I didn't know…" He said.

"They call me the rich new kid, remember? They hate my guts. And they often challenge me instead of the other way around. It's troublesome but I guess it's okay." I answered. Still, he doesn't look too happy.

"Naruto, what's the color of your magatama?" He asked after a while, still eyeing me suspiciously. What about it, aniki?

"It's red. I'm D Class now." I answered and I grinned when his eyes widened. You see, there are only few things that can surprise my brother. And I just found out that this is one of them. Heh! Lucky!

"Naruto! How come? I mean… you were just green… Is it Yahiko?" He started mumbling and I didn't know what he was talking about anymore. I sighed.

"Thanks, aniki. But I'll be fine. The only thing that shook me to the core was this thing with Yahiko." He looked apologetic again. "But don't worry, I swear I'll never cry for him again. He's such a waste of time." I said with determination clear in my eyes. He smiled timidly before he stood up and walked towards the door.

"If you need help, just tell me." He said. "And oh, Naruto. You can just ask about that Knight tomorrow. I heard there will be another fight between a Knight and a challenger."

I grinned, remembering Bee. "Really? Knights are so cool, aniki! Bee-san's fight last time was really awesome! I really thought dictatorship was nearing its end but I guess I was wrong."

"What?" He asked in furrowed eyebrows, clearly confused.

"Ah, nothing." I scratched the back of my head as I grinned.

"Clean yourself up before you go downstairs or haha-ue will kill us both. I bet dinner is ready so you better hurry up." He said before he gave me a small smile and went out of the room. I was about to lie on my bed again when he peeked at the door. "Oh, and by the way, your motorcycle is at the garage." My eyes widened and he smirked before he closed the door again. I guess I'm kind of spoiled, huh.

I know I should be angry at my aniki because he hid the truth from me. But I'm not. I'm actually relieved. I don't think I'd believe him anyway if he told me then. I knew I would have gotten angry at him for spouting bad things about friend and in return he would've gotten angrier at Yahiko. That would've made the whole ordeal bigger. I'm glad I have a brother that protects me so much, even if it is a pain in the ass sometimes. Haha, so much for the foul language.

And so, aniki, thank you… for making me feel a lot better. And maybe I should thank the ice cream too. And the beer. And Shikamaru and the others.

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.tbc.

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Ren-sama's Note:

Yep, people. This is actually the end of the story. Hehe, just kidding. Please give me your comments! Please! ˆoˆ