Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto!
Warning: A small scoop of 'rub and tug' with some death sprinkled on top.
Before You Read: Hi guys! Sorry I've been MIA from a lot of my stories lately, but I've been traveling… a LOT, so I really haven't had time to write (but don't worry! I'll finish them all, I promise!). The inspiration for this one shot came from a brief fascination with unrequited love between old people. Isn't that just the saddest thing in the whole freaking world?!
P.S. If you know of any good and really tragic manga/anime/fanfictions please make a review telling me about it! (I always love a good sad story.)
On with the fic!
What We Could Have Been
"One is never too old to yearn." ~ Italian Proverb
"Ah… I might be getting old," Naruto mumbled to himself as he looked at his face in the mirror.
It was true that he had aged with beauty, but he was at the stage in his life where he was far past his prime. His golden locks had turned a gleaming white in the recent years, and his once supple tanned skin had turned crinkled and worn. He had smile lines carved into his wrinkled face from years of laughter and high spirits, and deep lines in his forehead from many late nights of worrisome troubles.
His back was bent, his hands were leathery and warm, and his joints had surely seen better days. The only thing that truly hadn't changed much over the years was his eyes. Blue as a robin's egg, and wide as the summer sky, they looked upon others with kindness and held just enough innocence to still pull off the puppy dog look.
He was an old man that was to celebrate his hundredth birthday that evening, and much like a child, he was bubbling with excitement.
"You might be getting old?" a skeptical and teasing Sasuke leaned against the doorframe of the bathroom, "I think you past that stage a couple decades ago dobe."
Naruto puffed out his creased cheeks and narrowed his eyes at his old friend, "At least I don't have to walk with a cane yet, teme!"
Sasuke stiffed slightly at the insult and clutched his cane tighter in his fist. He had to start using the annoying thing a handful of years before when he got badly injured on one of his very last missions. He had gone through a lot of physical therapy and healing sessions with a variety of medic-nins before he could ditch his wheel chair and stick with a cane instead.
It was a difficult thing trying to heal when your body was already deteriorating.
Naruto had been a big part of the healing process (mostly yelling insults to motivate him) and Sasuke knew that he was proud of him for getting as far as he had come.
But still Naruto liked to tease him about it. Sasuke just sniffed at the insult and hobbled away with as much dignity as he could muster. Naruto smiled to himself, even after all those years of being attached at the hip; they were still getting caught up in their childish ways.
"I realized that one might love him secretly with no hope of encouragement, which can be very enjoyable for the young or inexperienced." ~ Barbara Pym
"TEME!" Naruto squawked loudly as he was pinned again by his rival.
"Give up dobe, you can't escape this hold and you know it," Naruto just snarled and struggled with a renewed vigor at the taunt.
"Naruto! Just give in already! It's clear that Sasuke beat you!" Sakura chided.
"Oi, what are my cute students doing without their beloved sensei?" Kakashi said as he strolled up lazily to the quarreling tweens.
Sasuke elegantly flipped off his comrade and stuffed his hands in his pockets, "Just teaching the dobe a valuable lesson in strength."
"WHAT?! It was me that taught you the meaning of strength bastard!" the scruffy blond hollered back, wiping some blood from his nose with his sleeve.
Sasuke just smirked and roughly patted his spiky head, his hand lingering on his friends head while he said, "I suppose you'll catch up someday, dobe."
"Let no one who loves be called unhappy. Even love unreturned has its rainbow." ~ James Matthew Barrie
"Happy birthday Hokage-sama!" the people of Konoha cried as the former blond entered the large dining hall.
He was donned in his formal red and white robes, feeling a lot like his old mentor Sarutobi. He found himself folded into many warm embraces from his long time friends and some of his newer ones as well. Naruto had been the Hokage for exactly eighty years. The old Hokage, Tsunade, felt that the position was a suitable twentieth birthday present for her favorite apprentice.
Naruto had served his purpose, nearly ridding the world of evil during his mighty reign, but now, it was time for him to choose his successor. He was more than ready to begin his lazy years in retirement.
The party was long and loud, and the dinner was filled with heartwarming stories from the past and "you've done well" speeches. Naruto was in tears from his laughter, his old body straining with effort to keep him from doubling over. The cake was spectacular, a tower of vanilla butter cream and raspberry filling, Naruto's favorite.
And so, the night had grown old and it was the moment the town had been waiting for: the announcement of who the new Hokage would be.
The room was as silent as a still pond while Naruto stood from his seat at the head table, his chair squeaking ungracefully as his did so. He took his time going up to the stage, testing the mike and clearing his throat until he had the whole room full of eyes glued onto his every move.
He'd always loved attention.
"My good people, it is time for me to step down from my post," Naruto chuckled lightly as he said the words, reminiscing about the past again.
"I'm a century old today, and though I plan to keep on living," he got a twinkle in one of his blue, blue eyes, "I'd like to spend the rest of my days on a beach somewhere surrounded by pretty girls," The guests laughed and jeered at the perverted old man and encouraged him to continue with wide smiles.
"So now, I shall be naming the new Hokage. This is a person that I've watched grow since they were still a lump in their mother's belly. I know that they will look after this village with care and love, for they are not just one of the most amazing ninja I've ever met, they're one amazing person too."
Naruto scanned the crowd for the lucky child – for that was what they were, a child. Mischievous blue eyes locked with surprised black ones and a grin stretched across the young child's face, "Would the lovely Uchiha Moriko please come up to the stage?"
The youth leapt from where she was standing in the crowd and landed solidly next to Naruto, whom she affectionately called "Gramps". She was the only living child of Sasuke's second son, and a particularly gifted ninja.
She had awakened the sharingan at the age of four when she was kidnapped and had been a prodigy ever since. She was extremely deadly with her double katana swords (an art passed down from her grandfather Sasuke of course) and had some of the most powerful wind, fire, and lightning jutsu out there.
She prided herself in her hulk like strength (a gift she swears comes from her late grandmother Sakura) and trained excessively with Naruto himself to gain and control vast amounts of chakra.
She wasn't just a great ninja either. Her beauty was known far and wide (she had inherited all her looks from her grandfather) her long black hair and sharp black eyes contrasting with an ethereal glow against her alabaster skin.
She was Hokage material through and through, with a benevolent and cheerful personality that just oozed leadership skills. She was an incredible child, and to show for her efforts, she has become the youngest Hokage at the tender age of sixteen.
Naruto took his honorary granddaughter by her calloused hand and boomed in a loud and confident voice, "I present to you the new Hokage of the Nation of Fire and the Town of Konoha, Uchiha Moriko!"
The town cheered loudly as Naruto plopped his formal hat on her head and draped his robes around her lithe body. The garment dragged on the floor behind her as she walked, the fabric consuming her in her joy.
"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love." ~ Charlie Brown
"It's about time you said yes, bastard," Naruto chided as he leaned against a door frame and watched his best friend fix his traditional wedding robes in a mirror.
Sasuke just glared at Naruto through the mirror, mumbling a dismissive and slightly frazzled, "Dobe."
"I mean really," Naruto continued as he moved closer to the groom, his tone as teasing as ever, "how many times has Sakura asked you to marry her? Ten-thousand? A hundred-thousand?"
Sasuke scoffed and turned away from his pristine reflection, "It's not like you have settled down with anyone yet, you hypocritical idiot."
The biting tone had no effect on Naruto as he waved the comment away dismissively, "I'm still in my thirties," Sasuke seasoned Naruto's excuse with a grumbled 'barely' that went ignored by his best man "Plus I'm the Hokage, I've got no time for wives and kids and whatnot. Besides, I can just spoil your kids rotten when Sakura finally starts popping out a few."
The horrified look that settled itself on Sasuke's face had Naruto in stitches as he doubled over in laughter, "Oh come on! I would be a great dad to our kids!"
Naruto froze in his joy and immediately back tracked that train of thought, "No, I didn't mean our kids – I meant Sakura's and Sasuke's kids – no-not our kids. Though we'd have some pretty cute ones right?" Naruto ended his pitiable speech with a scratch to the back of his head and a nervous giggle.
Sasuke just raised an eyebrow and turned his back so that Naruto wouldn't see his blush, "Nice save, dobe."
Naruto just flopped onto a nearby sofa with a groan, mumbling out, "Jeez, this sucks. I can't believe you're marrying Sakura."
The sudden shift from happy to pouty made Sasuke grin a bit – his friend was still as childish as ever, "You poor thing, even after all those confessions to Sakura, you still couldn't get her to love you," Naruto groaned out his protest the words stifled by a fluffy pillow, so Sasuke continued "Unrequited love sucks, huh?"
As soon as the words left his mouth Naruto's posture instantly worsened, like he was going to collapse in on himself and reduce himself to nothing. He shifted so that he was sitting with his elbows resting on his knees and his hands clasped together so tightly that his skin turned white. Sasuke watched as an utterly defeated air settled over his friend's head like a poisonous fog, the bitter regret written all over his handsome face as he drew his brows and pressed his lips into a line.
Naruto stared blankly at the floor in front of him for what seemed like an eternity before he moved his vanquished eyes to meet the dark eyes of the groom, and in a voice that has haunted Sasuke his whole life said, "You have no idea."
"When you give someone your whole heart and he doesn't want it, you cannot take it back. It's gone forever." ~ Sylvia Plath
The festivities restarted with a vengeance to celebrate the new Hokage, giving Naruto the perfect opportunity to slip away from the crowds for a moment of peace to clear his head.
He strolled absentmindedly throughout the streets, the cool autumn night chilling him pleasantly.
He was indeed an old man; he felt his knees pop and back crack with every other step he took. He certainly wasn't as agile as he used to be. But with his title passed on and the world safe from any prominent evils, Naruto felt at peace.
He found himself in a calming field awhile later and settled himself down in a patch of particularly plush grass and looked up at the stars with a lazy expression.
"What d'ya want teme?" Naruto called out playfully, his posture relaxed and his eyes still trained on the night sky.
"Nothing dobe, just wondering why you left your own party is all. You are a century old today after all," Naruto chuckled at that and sprawled out on the green carpet, lazily patting the spot next to him so that his most cherished friend could seat himself down next to him.
"It wasn't my party anymore. It's Moriko's now," Sasuke sighed at that and positioned himself so that he could lie next to Naruto and look up at the twinkling stars himself.
"I can't believe you made my granddaughter the Hokage. She's going to be rattling on and on about this for weeks you know," Naruto laughed dryly, his old lungs giving out a bit.
"That's one of the main reasons why I chose her. I always take any opportunity I can to bug you, you know that," they sat in a comfortable silence for a moment, each old man sifting through his many thoughts.
"Hey teme? Why'd you marry Sakura?" the question seemed to come out of thin air and Sasuke was slightly taken aback by the turn that their conversation had taken.
"Well, plenty of reasons really. For starters she was the only female that I could tolerate and could see myself coming to care for. She was also the most gifted medic-nin the Nation of Fire had ever seen. Then there also was the fact that she was border line obsessed with me-"Naruto cut him off with a scoff.
"All those things make sense, yes, but… did you ever actually come to care for her? You said that you could see yourself coming to care for her, not that you actually ever did. Why would you spend your life married to someone you didn't even love?" Sasuke remained cool and calm while Naruto got huffy and angry all by himself.
"I wanted a family," Sasuke began softly, his voice hardly carrying over the cool night breeze, "I wanted children and grand children and great grandchildren. I wanted to raise someone and watch them grow into something wonderfully unexpected. I wanted a family, and I couldn't have one without a wife to make it for me," Sasuke's tone was serious and a tad bit guilty. He shifted uncomfortably when he felt Naruto's eyes on him.
"I wanted a family to you know. But I never even had a girlfriend, let alone a wife. Do you know why that is Sasuke?" Naruto had turned back to the stars, watching in quiet wonder as one flashed across the sky, falling to its death.
"It's a shame you didn't have children. You could've been a great dad," the statement was ignored as Naruto carried on with his train of thought.
"I've been in love with someone since I was a child. I never even confessed… after all these years… I've never even confessed," Sasuke turned to Naruto, looking at him rather than the heavens.
"Who is it?" again his voice went seemingly unheard.
"I've been pining after them… crying over them… ripping myself apart just so that I could be near them. Not a second goes by that I'm not thinking about them, and yet… I'm too scared to confess… I don't want to die without them knowing my feelings, but" the century old relic sniffled a bit, wiping at his crinkled eyes.
Sasuke felt a wave of understanding flow over him and said, "I don't want to die alone either," he laid himself back onto the soft grass, giving Naruto his partial privacy so that he didn't have to have someone watching him in his moment of weakness.
" But you don't have to worry about that dobe," Sasuke grabbed for his old friends hand in his and squeezed with as much might as his old bones could muster, "we made a promise, remember? When we were young and handsome? Not all old and ugly like we are now,"
Naruto squeezed his hand back and whispered, "I still think you're beautiful."
Now it was Sasuke's turn to ignore Naruto, "You made me promise not to leave, remember? Till death do us part."
"Yeah, I remember."
"The worst thing: to give yourself away in exchange for not enough love." ~ Joyce Carol Oates
Naruto sat patiently next to his… old friend? Old foe? He didn't really know what to call Sasuke now that he was back in Konoha.
"So, have you thought over my offer?" Naruto asked lightly, looking over to the scowling man seated next to him.
Sasuke closed his eyes and allowed his head to rest on the cold cell wall behind them, sighing in defeat, "I can't say that I find the punishment unreasonable. If you asked anything less of me I'd be questioning Tsunade's reasoning in making you the Hokage."
Naruto let out a breathy laugh, staring intently at his long lost rival, "So you think I make a good Hokage then?"
Sasuke opened one eye and regarded Naruto's hopeful features for a moment before shutting it once again, "I don't think anyone else would have made a better one, Naruto."
"Thank you," Naruto murmured, welcoming the warmth that wrapped around him like a cozy blanket.
"Hey, Naruto?" Naruto looked up to the ceiling before turning his eyes to meet Sasuke's, his finger tips tingling and eager to touch, "I'll do it. I agree to your punishment for me."
Naruto blinked in surprise for a moment before nodding and straightening out his legs in front of him, resting them against the cool stone floor. Naruto felt the tingling in his fingers increase ten-fold as he watched Sasuke crawl in between his thighs, a concentrated expression making his feminine features more masculine than ever.
Naruto was unprepared; he thought for sure that Sasuke would rather take the jail time over this, but he was happy he was wrong. He refused to touch the raven though, not wanting his dirty hands to touch such a clean body.
Sasuke balled his hands in his pants and continued to stare blankly at the bulge forming at Naruto's crotch. Naruto noted that Sasuke didn't seem to know how to continue on with their little bargain and unbuttoned his pants by himself, pulling down the zipper but allowing his boxers to still keep his rather obvious erection hidden from view.
With a steadying breath, Sasuke reached out with a single clammy hand to gingerly pull down the cotton covering and awkwardly wrap his sticky palm around the blonde's cock. He looked away, embarrassed with the whole situation, feeling uncomfortable and oddly exposed.
He stared intently at the cracks in the flooring as his nervous fingers began to jerk very un-rhythmically up and down the long shaft, his sweaty palms sticking in a rather unsexy fashion to the heated flesh. His mouth went dry and his chest began to get shaky as he heard heavy panting and miniscule groans echoing quietly throughout the isolated cell, recognizing how very close the man was to his limit.
Sasuke couldn't help but to sneak a quick peek at Naruto's face, and stole a glance at his old teammate. He felt an unforgiving lump rise to his throat at what he saw, an odd need to flee pulsing through his legs as adrenaline told him to run away from the quiver of feeling in his chest.
Naruto had his mouth slack as he panted and groaned weakly in his throat, his skin was a crimson red from his ears to his neck, and his eyes were screwed tightly shut, his golden lashes soaked against his cheeks. A tanned fist was grinding itself forcefully into the gritty floor, causing his skin to break and bleed. His other arm flung itself over his eyes so that he could scrub wildly at the dampness accumulating on his cheeks while he grit his teeth.
Sasuke looked away in shame and embarrassment, knowing he was never supposed to witness that loss of control that Naruto was experiencing. So he moved his hand faster with sure, fast strokes, until with a final cry Naruto tensed and came, the hot liquid staining Sasuke's fingers.
Sasuke stood up and wiped the come onto his shirt, not caring nearly enough about the mark it made on the clean cloth. He kept his back to Naruto to let him recover and dry his tears a bit before they faced each other again.
Sasuke heard Naruto get up from the floor to walk and stand a mere breaths distance away from his back, his skin prickling from the warmth radiating off the man behind him.
"Don't leave Konoha again," the air was thick with discomfort as Naruto said the words in a commanding tone, his fingers tingling horribly with the need to touch what was so close, "don't leave me again."
Sasuke felt guilt bite at his bones at the quiet whisper of Naruto's voice and slowly leaned back into the solid chest behind him, the sickening feeling of regret snapping at his throat the more he relied on his rival to keep him standing, "I won't."
"… a final comfort that is small, but not cold: The heart is the only broken instrument that works." ~ T. E. Kalem
"We're old aren't we?" it was fifteen years after Naruto's hundredth birthday and Moriko's inauguration.
"You just figured that out?" Sasuke snorted as he sat beside his bed in his old family mansion, cutting up some peaches for his best friend.
"Well we're a hundred and fifteen, almost sixteen for me. Just thinking about it makes me feel like an old relic," Sasuke just smiled and continued with his cutting.
They'd just returned from the hospital and Naruto was looking worse for wear. To put it simply, he was dying of old age. He was deteriorating and decomposing, while his heart was still beating.
And Sasuke wasn't taking that so good.
He couldn't keep away from his wrinkly old friend for more than an hour without becoming sick with worry. He didn't want his best friend to die alone after all.
Earlier that day Naruto had gone to the hospital for a good healing session and a diagnosis on his condition. So far, Naruto had refused to tell Sasuke the results of his little checkup.
Thus, Sasuke stayed glued to his side, doting on him like he was a helpless infant and not the strongest ninja that had ever lived (of course, he was long past that prime).
The real reason Naruto had gone to the hospital that day was to write a letter… and his will. The medics said that they were amazed he was still kicking and that it must be the extra strength of the Kyuubi that's keeping him alive in such a rundown state. He left something for each person in the village to remember him by, for he had many friends and he didn't want to leave anyone out. No matter how insignificant they might think themselves to be, they were all precious to Naruto.
The letter was for Sasuke though. It was a short letter of few words, but Naruto knew that he would know what they truly meant. For Naruto was a coward, and could only confess from beyond the grave.
"Gramps, I brought you some ramen!" Moriko bubbled into the room with her arms full of the fattening stuff, arranging it so that Naruto could have his lunch in bed.
"Moriko-chan! Get over here and give your favorite Grandpa a hug!" Naruto threw open his arms and the young woman dove into his warm embrace, careful not to spill the hot broth.
"Hey Gramps, how ya' been? Is Pops treating you nicely?" she glared over at Sasuke playfully, who just rolled his eyes in return.
"Yeah, Sasuke's been treatin' me real good! It's like I got my own personal butler!" Sasuke just scoffed and got up to leave the room to give them some privacy, knowing that they'd want to talk about some official Hokage business.
But as he left the room he bumped into the very same person he'd just left, "Mori-chan, what are you doing making shadow clones in the house?" Sasuke chastised lightly.
Moriko looked somber, her mood rather bleak compared to how she seemed when she burst into the bedroom just a moment earlier.
But instead of answering her grandfather, she shoved a slightly crumpled letter into his chest and simply poofed away. Sasuke examined the already opened letter for less than a second and immediately recognized his name printed in Naruto's sloppy writing and nearly tore the paper free from its casing.
The letter was a simple paragraph at best, and was written with the shakiest of fingers. As Sasuke read the simple sentences over and over, he felt the most crushing sense of loss and regret that he's ever felt in his long life.
"Why hide your feelings to the one you love? Why love the one who loves another? Why give everything if only pain comes in return? Why wait if there's nothing to wait for? I guess the answer is love." ~ Anonymous
Do you ever wonder about what we could have been? About what we should have been?
I've been thinking a lot about it, and I have to tell you, we could have been great together.
We're so perfect for each other that it makes me wish I wasn't such a spineless man, that I had the courage to confess to you while I was still breathing. But sadly, I'm not the brave soul everyone thinks I am, and instead of confessing to you when we were young and still had decades of time left to spend with one another, I let the fear of rejection rule my actions. So now I'm confessing to you from beyond the grave.
Sasuke, you are everything to me, and I have loved you sincerely since we were mere children. I'll patiently wait for your reply in the next world, so enjoy life while you're still living it.
Please forgive this old man for his cowardice.
Your old friend,
"You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back." ~ Anonymous
Sasuke felt his hands shaking, his legs hobbling as fast as they could go back to the bedroom where Moriko and Naruto were. He burst into the room, his heart heavy with regret.
"Naruto, you idiot!" Sasuke screamed as Moriko's shadow clone poofed away, leaving the two old men alone.
"Sasuke?" Naruto's voice was weak. Too weak.
Sasuke hurried to his side and fell to his knees. He looked pale and ashen, a sheen of sweat on his skin. He looked so much worse than he had a moment ago.
"Naruto," Sasuke took one of his cold clammy hands in his and was frightened my how dead it already felt.
"Naruto, please… don't die yet," tears flew down his worn face and blue eyes fought to stay open and focused, "you're right, we should have been something… and I'm sorry I didn't have the courage either."
With the last of his willpower and effort, Naruto managed to squeeze his hand back, the strength of his hold portraying all his emotions as plain as day for Sasuke to see.
His blue, blue eyes fluttered shut for the last time.
"No! Naruto open your eyes! I love you so much Naruto! Do you hear me? I love you!" but it was no use, his grip had gone lax and his body had gone stiff.
Naruto never heard the words of love leave Sasuke's lips.
Still, Sasuke carried on in his declarations, whimpering his apologies and promises to the dead man in front of him. He pressed his lips to his forehead and hands, wishing that they were still warm.
"You're right Naruto, we should've been so much more, could've had so many more memories," Sasuke sank down in his despair, his heart beat strong in his chest the moment he wished the most for it to stop.
The hero was dead.
His story had ended.
"Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation." ~ Kahlil Gibran
Review if you got the case of the sniffles or cried… I fucking love sappy people. But shit, I love those quotes so much! (My favorite was the first one!)
Anyways, if you want to read something with a happy ending, then check out my other NaruSasu one shot called 'Headphones' (the lemon is super sour in that one).
Hope you enjoyed this story!