Chapter Eight

A/N: Revenge is sweet XD But oh-so hard to write LOL Also! LAST CHAPTER! *Woot woot* I hope you like it!

"Wha...?" Sasuke takes a small step back, his eyes staring at the floor between his feet. "How is that...how is that possible? The Fourth Hokage...killed the Nine Tails, didn't he?"

Naruto shakes his head, slowly. "No, he sealed it inside me...to contain in."

"So...everything the elders have told us..."

"It's a lie...but only to protect me." Naruto mutters. "If everyone knew-"

"They'd hate you even more."

He nods. "They'd probably try to kill me." One of them already did... He shudders at the thought of Mizuki.

Sasuke shakes his head. His expression was blank once again, but Naruto could see the wheels turning in his teammate's head. "So the Nine Tailed Fox...is inside you?"

"Yes." We've been over this already! Naruto desperately wanted Sasuke to say something, anything beside going over that same fact again and again. He needed to know he'd been wrong and that Sasuke didn't hate him like everyone else did.

"But...that doesn't necessarily explain what happened with Eiji." Sasuke suddenly tells him. "If it's locked within you, like you say, why did you...?"

"I guess it's because..." Naruto hesitates, trying to remember what Jiraiya had told him and what he's experienced, firsthand. "When I get really...emotional or hurt the Fox just kinda...comes out. He's sort of able to control me." The blonde explains in a low voice.

"It can control you..." Sasuke nods. Yeah, that makes sense. Naruto had been in bad condition so the Nine Tails took advantage so it could- "Wait. Hang on a second."

When Naruto looks up again, Sasuke a tiny bit closer. His coal black eyes locked on Naruto's. They showed no fear or disgust. Only concern.

"What does it want?" The raven asks him in a hushed voice.

"What do you mean?"

"The Nine Tails. Why does it try to control you?"

"He-" Naruto stops. He'd never gave it much thought. "I don't...I guess I don't know..."

Sasuke's eyes widen then. "You don't think it wants to break out...do you? Can it do that?!"

"Huh?!" Naruto recoils, his heart giving one, powerful slam against his ribs. "N-no way! You don't think that..." Is that really why? The Fox gives me chakra and controls me so he can... Naruto suddenly felt sick. All this time he'd been playing along, letting the kyuubi give him all the chakra he wanted. But, all along, it was just so the demon could break loose!

Naruto sinks back onto the chair, suddenly feeling a little dizzy with all the stressful information swimming around in his head.

"Naruto? Are you okay?" Sasuke asks. "You look sorta pale."

"I'm so stupid..." Naruto breathes. "And here I thought I was making the best of the situation, using his chakra...but I was playing right into a trap..."

Sasuke's expression tightens when he hears this. He really has no idea what the extent of this could be...But look at him..

Naruto looked almost deathly pale all of a sudden. His eyes were distant as he tried to wrap his head around what he'd just discovered. It had been a very, very long and stressful day for him.

"Okay, you know what?" Sasuke says with a sigh. "We can talk about this tomorrow." He stretches his arms above his head, trying to act casual about ending the conversation. "But, I was serious before, you look terrible, Dobe. Go to sleep."

Naruto doesn't respond. He only stares wide-eyed at the floor. He's...

"The offer still stands for you to sleep here, if you want." Sasuke tells him. And, with that, he dissapears into his bedroom.

Sasuke is still... The corner of the Jinchuuriki's mouth twitches, slightly. I was wrong...Sasuke doesn't...hate me. A gleeful laugh escapes his throat when those words sink in. I was wrong...!

-xXx-

The next morning, Sasuke rolls over in his bed. His eyes still glued shut from sleep as he kicks off the heavy blankets. A big yawn rolls out of his mouth as he stretches. The teen sits up and rubs his eyes, finally managing to pry them open.

Hm...I feel like I'm forgetting something... He shrugs and stands up, stretching again just for good measure. Then he walks out into the hallway and stumbles toward the kitchen.

Immediately, he notices the difference. And it makes his expression go sour.

Right there, curled up on his couch, was the Dobe. A thin trail of drool connecting his mouth with the arm of the sofa. One arm was dangling over the edge, his fingers just an inch above the floor.

Sasuke frowns, his fist itching connect with the blonde's head. But then-

The thing that's sealed within me is the Nine Tailed Fox...

Oh yeah... Sasuke suddenly remembers. His gaze scans the small boy sleeping on his couch. The blonde's sleeping face was peaceful, completely without worry. At that moment, he looked more like the Naruto Sasuke new than anything he'd seen in the last few days. The Fourth Hokage did a good job selecting who he'd seal the Fox inside of...there's no one as un-threatening as this goofball...

Just then, a devilish smile creeps onto his face. He leans down and jerks Naruto awake.

"Huh...?" Naruto mumbles, tiredly. "Sas'ke?"

The raven's face was hard, almost angry. "What are you doing here?" He demands.

Naruto sits up, eyeing him curiously. "I-"

"What makes you think I want you here?" He takes a step back and folds his arms, glaring hatefully at Naruto.

"Wha...?" The blonde's face turns horrified for just a split second before Sasuke coils back his arm...and flicks Naruto in the forehead. "S-Sasuke...?" Naruto reaches up to rub the spot of his head. His expression was now completely confused.

The raven smirks. "That's for pranking us last week..."

Naruto's eyes widen in realization. "Sasuke...you..." He bows his head, a growl in his voice. "YOU JERK!" He cries. "That was not funny!"

"Yeah? Neither was your prank."

Naruto flinches. "I said I was sorry..."

Sasuke grunts. "Well now we're even."

"Tsk, yeah whatever."

"So..." Sasuke begins, slowly. "I do have one more question...about the whole Nine Tailed Fox thing."

"Shoot." Naruto tells him, motioning for him to ask it.

"Do anyone else know?"

Naruto hesitates. "Yeah, I think anyone who was an adult when the Fox attacked knows-"

Like Kakashi and Iruka...

"-But anyone younger than that has no clue. Beside you and me, of course."

Sasuke nods, thoughtfully. "Alright."

Naruto shifts, uncomfortably before asking, "You won't tell anyone, right?"

"Tell anyone what?" Sasuke says, innocently.

Naruto smirks. "Very funny, Teme."

"Seriously, though. I'll keep it to myself." He promises.

"Thanks."

Sasuke shrugs and walks to the other end of the kitchen and begins rumaging through a cabinet. "Eh, don't mention it." He says. "It's not that big of a deal, anyway."

The other boy's mouth drops open. "Not a big...deal?"

"Sure."

"Sasuke..." Naruto begins. "This is the same Nine Tailed Fox that killed countless people...he destroyed a part of the village!"

"Well now it sounds like you're trying to talk me into hating you." The Uchiha mumbles without looking at him.

Naruto scowls at him. "Be serious for a second!"

"Okay, fine!" The raven spins around to face him and folds his arms. "What're you trying to say?!"

"Just that...I don't understand how you can be so...cool about this!"

Sasuke sighs, deeply. As if this entire conversation was wearing on his patience. "Well I just figured you're the same loser as before." He says, coldly. "Nothing has changed. So why should I change the way I act around you?"

Naruto lowers his head. "Why...why're you so...?" There was a kind of sad expression on his face. Which confused Sasuke immensely.

"Because you're my friend."

A jolt goes through Naruto at hearing those words.

"And anyone who would hate you because of something that isn't even your fault...is a bigger moron than you."

The corner of the blonde's lips twitch slightly. His shoulders quaking with silent laughter. "Ha...haha..."

"What's so funny?" Sasuke asks, suspiciously.

"It's just...I never thought you, of all people, would be the one to accept me..."

"Well, you're not the only one who finds it weird that I can understand where you're coming from."

"Friendship is strange..." Naruto mutters, still laughing quietly to himself.

"You can say that again." Sasuke agrees. "Anyway, we should get to practice. We're already late as it is."

"Yeah."

-xXx-

A deep, aggrivated sigh escapes from Sakura's throat. She and Kakashi were the only two to arrive at Team 7's meeting place by the bridge. And they'd been waiting for almost twenty minutes now.

"What could possibly be taking them so long?!" She groans, irritably.

"I don't know." Kakashi responds, dully. "Maybe they had a slumber party and overslept." He jokes.

Sakura laughs, as if the concept of the two boys getting along, was completely absurd. "Yeah, that'll be the day!" She says with a roll of her eyes.

Just then, Naruto and Sasuke come jogging up the hill and into their view. The blonde smiles, apologetically at them. "Sorry we're late." He tells him.

"Yeah, yeah." Sakura says, eyeing them curiously. "Let's just get to training! We don't have all day, you know!"

"Huh? What do you mean?" Naruto asks her.

"We have a mission this afternoon." She chirps, happily. "C-rank."

Naruto visibally brightens and runs to the front of the group, forcing Sakura to hurry to keep up with him. As the two chatter, gleefully about the chances of a fight, Kakashi slows his steps to fall in next to Sasuke.

"So, did you find out what you needed to know?" He asks, cryptically.

Without even glancing at his teacher, Sasuke smirks and says, "Yeah, I think I did."

"And?"

"And I'm fine with it. I don't see why I wouldn't be."

Suddenly, Naruto spins around and motions for Sasuke to hurry up. "C'mon slow poke! Or else we'll leave you behind!"

Sakura giggles and playfully punches Naruto on the head.

With a half-hearted sigh, and a poorly contained grin, Sasuke picks up the pace to catch up with his friends. "Don't push your luck, Dobe..."

A/N: Yeah, strange way to end it I know. But there you have it! I hope you enjoyed! :D