Although this story has both Naruto and Naruko tags on it, this does not mean both characters are in the stories. There is only one Naruto and yes, she is female.


Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters created and trademarked by Masashi Kishimoto in the Naruto universe. They belong to their respected owners. I am not making any money off of this story. I do, however, own the plot of this story. Please do not use any of the written work as shown below without my written permission.

Warnings: Coarse language, suggestive themes, genderswitch, SasuFemNaru

Paragraphs in italics- flash backs, lyrics/poems, dreams, and thoughts
normal- present

Enjoy:)


Like Birds

One

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Smoke flew in flocks of birds through the small apartment, swirling and diving before disappearing like ghosts. The young woman brought her trembling fingers towards her lips, taking another deep drag as her other hand tapped against the surface of her knee irritatingly. She closed her eyes, the images that never ceased to plague her enraging her more and more by each day that passed.

Tilting her head towards the ceiling, she slowly exhaled through her nose, releasing explosions of tormented spirits that danced around her, making her appear as a dragon with her wild hair and darkened eyes. She sat in the corner of the petite living room, knees gathered as she protected herself from the harsh breath of reality. Eventually, she cracked her sticky blue eyes open, glancing around the room.

It was obscure and dirty in the apartment, the curtains closed shut to keep the sharp rays of the sun to the outside and allowing her to be miserable in peace. Filthy dishes from days ago were overflowing the counter-top as was her trash bin. Discarded clothing lay in heaps, unwanted and too unimportant to fully grasp her fading attention.

When the rare beams of light shone through the cracks and crevices of the curtains, they illuminated the dust that had gathered everywhere, giving the small living space a grey shine. Everything had a sense of sadness to it.

Six months had passed. Six months of pure isolation had passed.

It was her fault of course, wallowing in pity and self-denial as her will to live had been eradicated on that one single day. She had done this to herself more than that damn bastard had, but still –

She furiously clutched herself, unattended finger nails digging into paling skin.

Just thinking about the events that had happened were enough to drive her to insanity itself. How dare he do this to her… how dare he rip out her heart and shred it in a million pieces right before her very eyes.

Of course they have had fights before, for crying out loud, they had been best friends since they were children. Even without that fact, wasn't it healthy for couples to argue? Weren't those the relationships that lasted the longest? Yet after every argument, no matter how intense and earth-shattering it had been, they were always able to come back to each other; to make up and to set things right again.

After all, birds of a feather flock together.

Despite how different their feathers were, their nature was, they had always belonged to each other; never letting the other go or stray too far. They had always been together.

It hadn't been this bad at first. After they broke up she still had a sliver of hope. No matter how much his words pierced her, no matter how much she had cried that night; he just… needed to cool down. The raven had always had a nasty habit of keeping things to himself, especially things that would eat him from the inside out. He was probably just releasing the steam on her, like always, because she always forgave him. He did it because she understood; she always understood that this wasn't the real him – it was his anger and despair possessing his actions. Or at least, that's what she thought.

She had waited a week for him to call her back.

Low and behold, after a week he had called her…

To let her know that he would be picking up his things tomorrow.

He had moved out, leaving her behind.

They had gone their separate ways, flying off to new flocks. Flying away from here to where he was no longer accessible. For the last twenty years, ever since they were born, they had been known as Sasuke and Naruto. But now, they were no longer together.

There was just Sasuke, as there was just Naruto.

Flicking the ashes onto the ground indifferently, she took in another deep drag, her once bright and full face hollowing out as the cigarette stole her breath away. She was pitiful, allowing herself to decay while he was living his life without a care in the world.

The last she had heard from one of her friends, he was already seeing someone again.

That god damn, stupid, motherfucking, BASTARD.

She had loved him; she had always loved him.

Without him she was broken.

Hearing a high-pitched mewl, she stubbed the shortened stick into the overflowing ash tray. Beside her was her four month old kitten, Kyuubi. Her friend Kiba, who volunteered at the Humane Society, had given her the sweet little thing on her birthday to help cheer her up.

She had to admit, the cute ball of fur had certainly helped.

She hadn't been as zombie like as everyone else had believed her to be. She still went to class, to work, and took care of Kyuubi. She just didn't have the energy to hang out with anyone or take care of herself. How could she when he had always taken care of her?

Kyuubi was now jumping onto her lap, pleading for attention by nudging her hand softly. A small, rare, smile gracing her lips, she gently began to pet the kitten, her fingers pleased by the softness of his fur. As the kitten began to purr, curled up into her, the blonde couldn't help but think of how she could have let herself get into this state. She was Naruto Uzumaki for crying out loud, the girl who didn't let anyone stand in her way.

She sure as hell wouldn't let the smudged memory of that asshole bring her down any further than she had already gone. She was going to move on.


Dead tired on her couch, the blue-eyed blonde was breathing steadily for what seemed like the first time in months. After her everlasting melodrama, she had opened the damn curtains as wide as they could (partially blinding herself in the process) and proceeded to clean up the apartment. She felt freed from the cage, flying in her own natural rhythm and even turning on the radio. Every corner of the small apartment had been scrubbed clean. She had even cleaned herself, properly for that matter, as she hadn't really bothered too these last couple of months.

They had ended it in early winter, where the decay of fall finally dies. But now that it was spring, she was slowly awakening; reborn. She had even opened the windows, letting the fresh air sweep in to carry away the stale smell of deterioration and smoke, although, with the amount of battery that her home had endured, the young woman knew that it would take months until she could breathe easy again.

Drifting for the first time in what seemed like years, the blonde's eyes were slowly shutting. She hadn't had a proper work out since her bitterness had consumed her. Maybe it was the fact that she was finally beginning to live again that she could rest easy.

Breathing in deeply, the blonde fully shut her eyes, beginning to soar into the uncharted realms of her mind before she heard scurrying across the floor. Laughing aloud with happiness, she couldn't help but realize how strange it felt, her laughter that is. It had been so long since she had truly had something to be happy about. There was just something about the little kitty running, full of energy around the now clean apartment that just made her giggle. It seemed that Kyuubi was just as happy that she had finally cleaned up the disaster. He must have sensed it too. It felt good.

Suddenly a crash caught her attention and her eyes widening immediately. Glancing down onto the floor, Kyuubi mewled at her guilty, staring at her with big innocent eyes.

Sighing deeply, she stood up, groggily scanning the area for damage. Her eyes fell upon a picture frame that was face down on the floor. Walking towards it cautiously, she sluggishly picked it up, eyes instantly flashing red with rage, her fingers digging into the metal of the frame.

It was a picture of them… the glass cracked completely, distorting the frame. Her eyes saddening, she couldn't help but remember the event. It had been during his birthday in the summer. They had gone to the beach, much to his distaste, but he still managed to have a good time.

"I'm always amused when you're with me. You keep things interesting," he had said.

It didn't matter now. They were broken, just like this picture. The grand finally of a magic trick where all the birds fly away from a hat – flying off into different directions; never to rejoin again.

How cruel.

Broken things like this belong in the garbage.

It was time to recover, to mend her tattered wings and fly again.


She felt like herself, for once, jogging in the downtown area of Konoha near the parks. She had always been a morning jogger but today she had to make an exception. She jogged for many reasons, ranging from keeping her body intact to getting rid of the excess energy she always possessed. It was a method to clearing her head of everything before she started her day. Of course, ever since that one life changing day she had stopped the ritual. After all, her entire world had been turned upside down and inside out.

However, going with her new goal of getting her life back together, the blonde had proceeded with the ritual again.

Unfortunately, it was around 12 o'clock now, nowhere near her original hours. She wasn't complaining though as the blonde had actually slept through the night, which was something completely new.

Glancing around, she realized just how different this was. She was used to the isolation and crisp air of the morning instead of the crowds of people. It was hard to keep a steady rhythm when people kept blocking the way.

And then, the blue-eyed girl stopped dead, her heart skipping several – no – twenty beats. There, before her, was the devil himself. Tall, lean, with thick ebony hair and mysterious obsidian eyes that were always preferred to be incomprehensible rather than full of life. With him was his guitar, the one thing that he could be seen everywhere with. Additional to his flock was… a woman… a petite woman with bubble-gum pink hair that was pixie cut and jade eyes that made her want to spit her heart out and leave it to the vultures.

This… this was too much… was this his rumoured girlfriend?

Unable to stomach the scene any longer, she hastily pulled up her hood, her long, blonde hair tied and hidden as she made her way towards a near by street vendor. She had promised herself that she would begin to cut down on the smoking, but now she needed to relax. She needed to regain her senses and get out of here as soon as possible.

She stalked up to the shrilly looking man, eyes dark as the ocean released its wrath in her eyes. Her voice shacking, she quickly demanded,

"Marlboro. Red. Three packs."

The man gave her an odd look, but she was too troubled to even realize it. Quickly, she paid with every last dollar in her wallet and turned around, ready to run home and cry when blue-eyes locked with midnight.

He was a lot more handsome then she remembered, or maybe it was her mind playing tricks on her. Six months ago, the raven had just started to grow out his bangs. Now, they were covering his eyes, giving him a more rugged look – not that he ever didn't look rugged and wild.

He looked just as shocked as she did.

"Na -" he caught himself before replying calmly, "Uzumaki." His expression was unreadable, masked by the hair in front of his eyes.

Had they really fallen so hard that he couldn't even say her name?

"Uchiha," she viciously spat back, brushing by his shoulder violently before stalking towards an unoccupied bench.

She would have ran home, if her knees hadn't failed her by becoming weak at this very moment. She was powerless near him, nothing but a caged bird that was forced to entertain its master.

Rapidly, she pulled out her ever present lighter, illumination the cancer between her fingers before inhaling intensely, permitting her lungs be filled to the brim with toxins. Blowing out of from her nose, the blonde irritably admired the escaping smoke, how it swayed and looped before disappearing. She wished she could be like that: just flutter away and disappear completely.

Feeling the space beside her creek, the familiar aroma of his spicy cologne invading her senses, the blonde couldn't help but think of how cliche this was becoming.

He knew that this particular brand was her favourite.

"What do you want," she spat, heated azure orbs glaring ahead of her, refusing to even look at him.

A deep silence settled between the two, the sounds of chirps and children squealing with joy in the park coming deaf to their ears. In time, he breathed out in a murmur, "how have you been?"

"Why do you care!?" she bitterly hissed, smoke still surrounding her like a veil.

"I didn't expect you to still be this bitter," he continued, in a tone that suggested he wasn't speaking the entire truth. "It was a mutual break-up."

How dare he... How dare he insinuate that they just happened to decide together all merrily that they shouldn't be together. There was nothing 'mutual' about it. She had been shocked, blubbering excuses just to make him feel horrible. This time she turned to him with the craze of an amazon woman, eyes turning from the murky and depressing blue to an ice so sharp and vile that it would pierce him over and over again.

"You fucking bastard, there was nothing fucking mutual about it!"

"You were the one," he swallowed, "who said I was being neglectful and that it would be for the best."

"Well what the fuck was I supposed to say!?"

She was standing now, waving her arms like a madman, ashes flying as the cigarette still hung between her lips. She was attracting the attention of everyone in the park but she could have cared less. This was the man who broke her heart. No – he ripped it out mercilessly from her chest, stomped all over it, wiped out a knife and mutilated it in front of her for days, weeks, and months.

"You fucking Uchiha have always been like that, fucking around with people, doing as you merely please without caring about the people you leave behind! I should have known you would have done this. I should have known that you wouldn't have cared that we've known each other for years. You fucking stay out of my life, you hear me!?"

She needed to hurt him, make this just as personal and heart aching as he had left her there, six months ago, in the home they had shared for three years. By the fact that they were in public made it all the better. She knew that the arrogant man in front of her hated public attention. Just the fact that she had screamed his surname probably got all of Konoha's attention by now.

"You're just like your father!"

The shocked look on his face, border lining between fury and insanity was enough to make her feel a sick satisfaction. The Uchiha were practically celebrities in Konoha as their clan having been one of the founding nobility of the city two hundred years ago. It was also a bit of an unspoken gossip that the current head of the Uchiha family, Fugaku Uchiha – Sasuke's father – was having multiple affairs for the last seven years.

The look on Sasuke's face confirmed that immediately. She could see his fingers twitching, clenched into fists so tight that it appeared as if he knuckles would be freed from their skin prison at any moment. He wanted to hit her, which was unsurprising.

They had always been physical, having taken martial arts since they were little. That way, when they ever got into arguments, as children they would literally beat the shit out of each other. The small raven had always been scolded heavily afterwards, being told that it's impolite to hit a girl.

"Naruto's not a girl," he would argue. "She's acts like a boy and hits harder than Neji!"

Now things were different. They were in public, speaking for the first time in ages. He couldn't hit her just like they used to. They weren't the same people anymore. They weren't the same species anymore.

He gave her his death glare to suffice, eyes narrowed into a look so deadly that she had to resist the urge to flinch. That's when it hit her.

This wasn't her. She wasn't an angry and spiteful individual. She was the foxy sunshine, the one who forgave and helped everyone to the best of her abilities, the one who never lost her smile.

The one who forgave everyone, no matter how astronomical the damage was.

The Uchiha himself had stood up, ready to stalk away and probably demolish his current home space with his own uncontrollable rage, before he lost his cool demeanor in public, when she caught his wrist, eyes melting. It was spring after all.

He wiped around, eyes crazed with wrath before she breathed out, "I'm sorry… I didn't mean –"

"It's fine," he replied, his voice shacking with vehemence. He could tell that he was losing his rheostat over the situation.

She tightened her hold in his wrist in response, speaking in a low and contrite tone.

"I meant it… I – can we at least be friends again?"

He was silent for a few more moments, eyebrows furrowed with confusion and other looks that she could not identify. He was quick to realize the mistake of revealing his true face for those few moments. He had always been cautious of showing his true face in public, or to anyone for that matter. His façade was back on in a matter of seconds.

"Okay," he whispered just as gently, shadowy orbs staring through her very soul, clouded with emotions she could no longer read. "Okay," he repeated, much more confidently then the first time.

Lamely, she herself responded, "okay," before letting his wrist go, turned around and began to walk away. They were flying away in different directions again.


Walking up at around nine am, the blonde had to admit that this was indeed an accomplishment. Despite yesterday's trauma, she had once again slept through the entire night, no dreams or memories hindering her slumber. Walking over to the curtains, she opened them fully again, allowing for the gentle morning light too grace her apartment with a calm and pleasant air. It was nice outside today.

She even cracked a couple windows open to allow the fresh air to sweep through. The birds were chirping loudly, causing Kyuubi's hunter instincts to kick in. He began to meow loudly at the window, begging to be let outside and mutilate the poor singing canaries. Lighting a cigarette, the cerulean-eyed blonde turned on the ventilator above her small oven, smirking as the kitten began to dance around her. He was purring and mewing, rubbing against her in hopes that she would be drawn into his charm and let him outside.

It was possible after all. She lived on the ground level so there would be no harm in letting him out. For now, she was just a little afraid to let the kitten prance around outside by himself. Would it be possible to buy him a cat leash?

Abruptly, the doorbell rang, immediately catching her attention. Who the hell would decide to visit her, let alone so early in the morning?

Opening the door, her eyes widened at the sight before her.

Uchiha Sasuke was gracing her with his presence, eyes tired and full of interesting sentiments. His hair was tussled just right and wild, black skinnies hugging his lean legs and a black leather jacket covering his broad shoulders. He was wearing her favourite cologne again.

Blowing impurities in his face, the blonde crossed her arm self-consciously over her chest. She wasn't wearing a bra, as she never did when she slept, and had failed to change yet. Although he was an expert on every joint and angle of her body it wasn't the same anymore.

"What are you doing here?"

His expression didn't change to the smoke in his face or her gestures. His eyes were locked onto her face, conflict raging in his features.

"You said we could be friends, didn't you?" he shrugged, shoving his hands into his pockets.

"I did," but she didn't think that he would show up so soon.

"Can I come in?"

Wordlessly, she stepped to the side, allowing him to enter before making a bee-line towards her, no longer their, bedroom, changing immediately. As she re-entered, she wasn't surprised to see the raven lounging on the couch, Kyuubi already analyzing him with curious eyes from the opposite side.

"When did you get a cat?" He asked, eyes fixed on the orange ball of fur as he jumped onto the other's lap, meowing in his face.

"Kiba gave me him for my birthday," she replied just as dryly, making herself a coffee. She didn't ask him if he wanted anything. Their reconciliation was beginning to become too close for comfort, too painfully familiar to how things used to be.

"Why are you here again?" she asked, not wanting to sound annoying but she needed to know. She needed to know why he was disturbing the chemistry of her body again.

He was silent and she didn't dare look back in fear of him ripping her wings out all over again.

"I think," he started, "that you deserve an explanation."

"Oh yeah?" she bitterly scoffed, taking a generous gulp of her coffee. "Then do explain."

The silence continued as the gap between them was beginning to widen all over again. It was just like before. The deep tension in the air, barley exchanging words and ignoring each other to oblivion. It was just like before.

"I said a lot of nasty things that night," the Uchiha spoke gently, finally having gathered the nerve. "A lot of things were going on that I didn't tell you about, as usual, because I didn't want you to worry. I thought I could fix them on my own and everything would be fine."

"You always say that," she whispered, hoping that he didn't hear her but knowing that he did.

"Mother finally began to fight back against father, no longer wanting to live in a loveless marriage," he continued, sighing out deeply as he began to speak more than she had heard him say in the past year for that matter. A year ago when all this drama started.

"She filed for divorce and it wasn't pretty. Of course that bastard fought it, saying that he loved her and that they could work this out. The only thing he didn't want to lose was his reputation by a silly scandal. It's like he still thinks he's untouchable. Everyone in the damn city knows that he can't keep it in his pants anyways."

The blonde felt a pang of guilt clench her heart, remembering how he had reacted the day before to her rage filled comment.

You're just like your father.

Sasuke hated his father, and she knew that better than anybody else.

"He started to take things out on me as usual, calling me failure for going into business yet concentrating more on my music. Tch, he always hated how I was more interested in music than running a fucking a corporation. Itachi was always more suited for stuff like that."

"I know," she wanted to say. "There's a great big gap behind you in this room because that's where you're piano used to sit." As well as, "I used to hear the arguments when I was over. I know he hated it. It was supposed to be a way to raise your concentration and intelligent for business. He didn't expect you to fall in love with it."

"He was giving me shit about taking a minor degree in music. He said I should focus all my efforts on business, or become an engineer because I have the intelligence for it. You know he never cared about me in the first place."

I know.

"Then, Itachi got diagnosed with cancer seven months ago," seven months ago when we were at each other's throats every day and I thought you were cheating, because you were never home and pretended that I didn't exist. You were probably sick with worry, spending all your time with Itachi.

"That was enough to drive that egotistical asshole over the edge, his prodigy lying in bed with a severe sickness. He didn't even stop to consider that we were all worried about Itachi, that we were all scared. The cancer wasn't even that bad. They caught it in its early stage and were able to cure Itachi. But still," there was a tight edge in his voice and she could feel the anger in his words.

"He treated it as if it were the end of the world, as if Itachi was going to drop dead at any moment."

"How is he now?" she interrupted, her own shock running through her veins. The azure-eyed beauty had always been close with Itachi. Until seven months ago.

"He's doing well now," the ebony-haired man replied softly, his anger having escaped him for a brief moment.

"But that's not good enough for father. Just the mere worry that Itachi may not be able to take over the company set him into paranoia. He was literally screaming at me to switch my courses and that it was time to prove that I wasn't a loser and a disappointment for picking such a 'pathetic career choice' over something more profitable like business."

Knowing how much Sasuke had resented his father for ignoring him all those years of his life; she began to feel her own anger welling inside of her. Fugaku always knew how to push everyone's buttons to a max point. Of course he'd take it out on his youngest.

"He started to blame you," Sasuke spoke quieter, his loud rant becoming more personal by the second.

"He said you were the reason that I was going into the music, your crazy influence. You were the reason that I was such a disaster." She clenched the counter top, her cigarette gone and her coffee cold.

"I know he was just saying it to get a rise out of me, but at the time," he was on edge, "I just couldn't handle it. I said a lot of things to him, how I felt about his bullshit," he then began to laugh dryly, scoffing. "And then he disowned me. Just like that. Not like I care," he was lying. "But at the time, it was just too much to handle. I needed to sort things out."

She frowned, absorbing everything before he continued, the usually quiet and conserved Uchiha having bouts of word vomit. It was as if she was the priest and he was having his confession.

"That's when I moved out," he whispered. "I wasn't thinking straight and I was just so angry. I was angry at Itachi too. As soon as he heard what father did, he went right up to his office and told him that if he disowned me, he might as well disown him too. He didn't need to do that for me."

Trying to keep her voice level, too many emotions and feelings running through her at this very moment, she asked calmly, "is everything alright now?"

She could feel his eyes smoldering holes in the back of his head, as if confused with her response. Was he expecting her to scream at him?

"I moved in with him after that," he spoke calmly. "Itachi was helping me switch around me courses and get back to myself I guess. Now I'm majoring in music with a minor in math."

"The Pink Floyd approach?" she asked dryly, lighting another cigarette as it pacified her greatly. Pink Floyd was his favourite… their favourite. Too many memories revolved around that for her comfort. The images were already beginning to resurface…

"Yeah," he replied, probably coming right down memory lane with her. "Something like that. Mother moved in with us too."

"And how is she?"

"Better. At least, better than she has been in years. She calls your mother a lot; half the conversations are about you and I."

"There is no longer 'you and I'." She wanted to snap, but kept her cool.

It's not like they had much to talk about. Her mother had moved to Suna after her father's death when she was in high school. She hasn't called her since six months ago. She didn't remember to call her.

Her wind already flying to the land of her past, she felt her heart clench ferociously at every memory. This… this was too much.

"I'm sorry…" he breathed out and the blonde was wondering when he had become so talkative. "I should have told you. After all this shit I was just so damn angry and stressed and I wish – "

"It's fine. It's done and over now. You did what you had to do."

"I should have learned by now. It was like repeating everything from the first time –"

"What? Back when we were fifteen? Come on Sasuke, don't be stupid. That was ages ago. Besides,

I'm used to being alone."

She could almost hear his fist clench and his face frown. It wasn't like he didn't know. She was like a Red-Tailed hawk. Always alone, forced to fend for herself and be tough for everyone else. Knowing that her comment probably hurt him more, she shook her head, blowing toxic air into the ventilator above the oven. (1)

"You know what? I'm sorry. I'm just being bitter. You went through a lot of shit and yeah, maybe you should have told me, but I'm sorry too. I'm sorry for being jealous and vindictive. I thought you were cheating..."

"I know. You were screaming at me, remember?"

"Yeah, I was pretty fucking pissed…"

"So was I… I hadn't realized at the time that I had been neglecting you so terribly."

"I know, you always do that when you have something important on your mind."

An unsettling silence then entered the apartment. It was dark and cold now, the sun having moved on from her window to the other side of the building. It reflected her current state of mind perfectly.

"You should stop smoking so much," he suddenly interjected, doing everything in his power to keep her talking. It's like their roles had been replaced. Usually she was the talkative one and he was the silent one. How much had changed?

"Oh yeah? You smoke too. More than I do," if she remembered correctly that is.

"Not as much as you do," he countered. "You're eating your cigarettes."

They've never been this awkward before.

Even before, whether they were in major arguments, screaming, talking, or just plain ignoring each other, somehow they had always been able to connect. Always connected, always familiar.

They were strangers now.

No longer containing the same feathers.

Just different species passing each other before continuing to their separate destinations.

.

.


Footnotes:

(1) Red-Tailed Hawk – a bird of prey that is often used in falconry. The female tends to be the 25% larger then the male and is more dominant. They are also considered to be rather lonely birds.


A/N: This story is going to be a three shot and I'm going to try to get the next chapter out in a couple days. I'm sorry for neglecting you guys so much, especially the Ghost Flower readers :/ I had exams a couple days ago and this whole month was me attempting to juggle sleep, work, and school. Luckily though, this semester is a thousand times easier than the last one so I should have a lot more time for writing Expect new material soon!