‹ the make believe theory ›
Bet I'm supposed to start with a real hook, yeah?
I'm not going to say something awe-inspiring that's gonna make you grin or laugh or get you to connect with me by some thin little thread of lies. If you want to hear my story, you're going to sit there and you're going to read on until you finally get where I'm coming from. I don't want your pity and I don't want your sympathy—I don't really want anything from you, honestly.
If you're still here, then that means I've spiked your interest and that's how you throw a curveball of a hook to curious cats.
So now you're either talking shit, tryna get me to hurry up and straight to the point, or wondering what exactly is my point and that's good and all but I'm not here to cater to your wishes. I mean, it's nothing out of this world, I can tell you that; I didn't walk through the valley of death and I didn't meet a God or anything.
I'm going to tell you a story. It's not about love—not all of it—it's about moving on.
I'm Sasuke, by the way.
Basic stories start at home or something like that; last I've heard, they start in chat groups, CEO offices and even clinics. Pretty dramatic, if you ask me, but I don't really like the books that are out to grip the soul of mothers and grandmothers and girls that only ever fall in love with ink on paper, so what the hell do I know, right? My story doesn't start with such a flare—it starts with me playing video games in my room.
I was twenty and I still lived with my parents; I mean that's nothing to frown upon, my brother was twenty-three and he still lived at home and so did my nineteen year old sister. That's just how my mother always wanted it to be.
It was a lazy day—you know the kind, right? Where it starts late and slow and you don't really want to do anything all day so you stay in your boxers, entangled in your sheets and just play fucking Devil May Cry like your life depended on it. Binge video game playing, and man was I king of that shit.
So yeah, man, there I was just lazing around, playing video games and bitching at Naruto through Blackberry Messenger and… Regular day, pointblank.
And that's the beauty of some shit, I guess, it creeps up on you when you least expect it and the feeling you get when it hits you is kinda powerful. Like in the old cartoons, when the character goes rigid and all the color is drained out of them and they're just hovering a few inches above the ground, just shimmying a bit.
So that's what was going on right then. I was replying to Naruto when it happened. For someone that doesn't really use their phone except to Google if there's an extra after the credits of a new movie (Spoiler: Marvel always does this shit) or to get a Snapchat of some stupid shit my sister was doing... I was pretty legit at texting. One hand, bro, what are you doing with your life?
But yeah, replying to Naruto with one hand and holding onto my controller with the other one.
And then my phone just started ringing—vibrating, because I don't really ever take it off vibrate mode—in my hand, cutting off my text and scaring the living shit out of me.
There's no number and no Caller ID.
Just that standard notice of an incoming call, the kind phones give when they're acting wonky and can't load the information.
I picked up.
I never really picked up calls like that because they're always dead silence or some ad tryna sink you down with debts disguised as promises. But I picked this one up; what the hell, right? It's a lazy day, I'm not doing anything productive—I can kill a minute or two and humor this call.
It was my dad.
Which meant he was calling me from the station. My dad was Chief of Police in Oto, you see, so he was always over there around this hour… Except he never really called me and stuff… Anyway, so yeah, it was my dad on the other line.
And then silence.
He didn't hang up or anything, coz I heard his breathing on the other line as well as voices in the background. It was more like the kind of silence where he was trying to figure out how to say what he was going to say without using so many words. That's how my dad was—he mulled things over, picking and changing the words so the meaning was still there but he didn't have to say more than ten words to get it across.
"I'm sorry, Sasuke," he finally said, sighing and kind of sad.
My dad and I never had the perfect relationship. I guess that's where my life kinda related to the popular books out there, where the main character is all angst because of daddy issues. My dad was closest to my brother and my kid sister; me, I was the troubled child in the background, breaking shit and disappearing and never paying much attention to the double overload of affections my mom gave me to make up for my dad's neglect.
So I furrowed my brow, dropping the controller onto the bed and sat up. "What? Why?"
Not gonna lie, I actually thought it had something to do with my car. I was crazy possessive about that thing, man; it didn't have the perfect paint job, but the bumpers were nice and shiny and the leather interior was still pretty legit and my '69 Camaro was my life. I earned the money for the scrap of ready-to-fall-to-pieces metal it had been and I earned the money to fix it. Fucking beauty was my life.
"Sasuke," my dad said on the other line, his tone nothing like the gruff Chief he was supposed to be. "Kiba's dead, Sasuke. Ino and Suigetsu are in the emergency room. Jesus fuck, I'm sorry, kid."
I was too far gone by then to even pay attention to my dad's pet name. All I heard after the news was a ringing in my ears. Loud, acute, overpowering and mind-jarring.
I guess I should let you in on why that shit put me in a wicked spell. You know, other than the fact that death and emergency rooms were in the equation.
Kiba was my best friend.
You know how you have a circle of friends and though they're all really your best friends, there are the ones that you are most attached to? People would think it was Naruto and, I mean, I can understand why; our dads were best friends and our moms were basically blood sisters without the blood. And I mean, yeah, Naruto was my best friend but the title was overshadowed by the title of 'brother.' It made more sense and it was actually how we were; if asked, I had two brothers and a sister. That was our relationship, dumb fuckface was my brother.
Kiba was my best friend.
He was the douche that called shotgun when we'd drive off somewhere, him and me and our douchebag friends. And he was the one that knew what I was thinking before I was thinking it, the one who had the same opinions as me and the one that I would argue with the most because of it.
Then there's Suigetsu.
Another shithead that was part of our group. We grew up together—all of us—Kiba, Naruto, Suigetsu, Neji and me. That was us, that was our crew, our squad, or whatever you want to call it.
Ino was my sister's best friend and she was Kiba's girlfriend. Just by those two facts alone, you can already guess that she was pretty important to me, too. I saw her almost every day, whether she was at my house or at Kiba's when I'd walk in to freeload on his beer, internet and cable.
That's why I kind of zoned out when my dad called to give me the news. All of those people, those three fucking idiots, they were important to me. They were my friends.
My best friend was dead.
And the other two were in critical condition, in the emergency room.
But get this—
My best friend was dead.
But worst of all, let me tell you, is the fact that Kiba and Ino had a two year old kid.
I sat on a chair in the back row.
My eyes were glazed over, my hair a mess with my forelocks shadowing my face. I kept tapping the back of my feet against the ground, willing my knee to keep a rhythm going so the kid on my lap would stay asleep for the entirety of the wake. My eyes were downcast the entire time, and I never lifted them up because it was more interesting to wonder how the chair in front of me could stay upright despite the weight it was supporting.
Honest to fucking God, I felt like I was choking. I was barely breathing because everything that I pulled into my lungs smelt of loss and change.
So I fucking sat there, holding that parentless little girl, staring at the floor and having no fucking strength to look up because I knew—I fucking knew—that if I did, all I would have to stare at was the body of my dead best friend and I swear I didn't have the power to do that. I didn't think I would've been able to handle the fact that he wasn't moving. I didn't think I would've been able to handle the fact that he was never going to fucking move again.
The thought made my blood freeze. It made me want to scream. It made me want to stand up and lash out, throw all these fucking chairs and make a fucking mess out of that reception and march to that fucking casket and demand Kiba stand right the fuck up and out of there and maybe punch him for even considering this joke to be funny.
But it wasn't a joke.
Kiba was dead.
I ran my hand through the strands of dirty blond hair on top of the little girl's head, reminding myself that somewhere in this wake were my other best friends, mourning as bad as I was. Naruto was comforting his girlfriend and Neji was further back than I was, hidden in the shadows as he stood against the wall.
…My sister was a mess. I didn't see her because our parents were keeping her together. The fact that her best friend and her boyfriend were in a coma…and that Kiba was dead… Karin was a lot of things, but she wasn't strong enough to put on a tough act for something like that.
By then, I was gritting my teeth. I couldn't be there—I had to leave because I couldn't cope and I was going crazy and I needed to get away.
Before I tell you what happened at the funeral—and something did happen, but it's probably not what you think it is so don't even bother guessing; shut up and listen—I guess I should tell you about this infamous little girl I keep talking about, yeah?
Her name's Rei and she's one of the main protagonists of this story. She's my dead best friend's daughter and she looks like him, too; mischievous dark eyes and a crooked little grin. Sassy little punk, that's what she is.
There are a million and one reasons why Rei is important but I'm going to start from the very beginning. Paraphrase that shit.
You know how, when a woman goes into labor, it's mostly just the father of the kid that goes into the delivery room with her? And if the father isn't around because it's an unexpected labor and he's working, it's the woman's mother or sister or whatever?
I was in Ino's delivery room because Kiba had been at work on the other side of the city.
I drove Ino to the hospital, got her the wheelchair, drove her around and got mistaken for the father-to-be. I was in the delivery room, my fingers were crushed worse and worse with each contraction she had and I was the one that heard that little girl's first wails.
I cut that umbilical cord and held her before passing her to her exhausted mother.
I was the first person that Rei saw and vice versa. And I knew right from that moment, when she was placed in my arms to hand to Ino, that she was going to have me wrapped around her little finger and do whatever she wanted with me. They say your significant other will be your downfall; mine was different. My downfall came in a packet of ear-piercing wails, brown eyes and dirty-blond hair with a bad attitude all wrapped up in a baby's body.
Kid became my goddaughter.
And Rei's intro ends like this:
After that accident, after Kiba died and Ino went into a coma… She became my legal daughter.
So then I was a twenty year old and a surrogate father for a little girl and attending the funeral of my dead best friend.
It wasn't raining, that day. Just drizzling; the sky was a dark gray and clouds promised something like a storm later on in the week, the wind was a bit hostile and Rei's dress grazed my hands as it swayed with the breeze while I held her, her head resting on my shoulder, one hand gripping my shirt and the other rubbing soothing circles on my arm. Like if she was trying to comfort me; like if she knew the pain I was going through and all the drastic changes happening around her and she was trying to remind me that everything would be okay.
Everyone was dressed in the standard black—mourning color. I thought it was fucking obnoxious; black isn't a mourning color. Black is elegant. If anything I find red to be the perfect mourning outfit yet I was still blending in with the crowd, black on pale skin and pretty fucking positive I heard Kiba snorting at how cliché everything was.
I faced away when they began to lower the casket. I've never been one to think about death but right then at that very moment I found it completely fucking unbearable to realize that… To die… To be fixed up and suited up and forever bedridden in a casket and to be lowered down into a hole six feet deep… It's like being put away forever.
It's like being forgotten—like you were never there.
It was mind-blowing; like smoking a joint and floating up in cloud nine, feather-light and thinking about things you can't seem to find the time for in your daily life rituals. It was enough to make my grip around Rei grow tighter; pressed her closer to me as more of a way to have me come out of my morbid thoughts than to comfort her.
Because Kiba was being lowered down in a hole six feet deep, fixed and suited up and bedridden in that casket but he wouldn't be forgotten. Because I was holding the living proof that he was around for twenty years before he left like the fucking douchebag he was.
Every time I'd look at Rei, study her face when I'll scold her for misbehaving—it'll be like I'm looking at Kiba.
Motherfucker wouldn't be forgotten. He was around.
I swallowed, swaying from side to side to keep Rei appeased and counting the black bars of the gates caging the dead inside the massive amount of land—as if they could ever get up and leave.
The ceremony ended after a few more prayers and I broke away from the crowd, steps slow coz Rei was falling asleep to the rhythm of my swaying. My parents were comforting Tsume and Hana and I knew I should probably go by so they could see Rei or something but right then all I wanted was to get the fuck out of there.
So I kept walking away, only pausing when they stopped on either side of me.
There was enough space between us to let us know what exactly we were each feeling—whatever it was, it was something that would never be acknowledged or spoken about. We just knew, the three of us—the three left, the three that hadn't been in that car accident in the highway.
We stood there with our backs stiff and our shoulders squared and our eyes avoiding making contact. I counted the blades of grass—I always lose count after ten before I'm fucking sure I'm counting the same blades twice—or staring at the smudges of Naruto's converses or tracing the creases on Neji's jeans.
"She's fine," I said, my voice low and gruff.
"That's good." I could imagine Naruto nodding his head, running his hands through his hair, droopy spikes a mess. "That's good… I'm glad."
There was silence after that—there was no light banter, no teasing, no joking, no sarcasm, no insiders that only we understood that made me grin and made Neji chuckle and made Naruto do that loud laugh of his. There was no fucking giveaway to the fact that the three of us had known each other for years and years. It was like we were three strangers trying to find comfort but too proud to admit it and too proud to give any away.
We were total strangers; the complete fucking opposite of what a death in a family should come down to.
There was a distance between us, right then—a road splitting in three directions and it's like we were individually shoved into each one. The distance was only growing at an impressive pace and I fucking swore there was no way we could ever catch up to each other again.
"So… You got custody, huh?"
I shrugged a shoulder, shifted Rei to my other side and let out a short sigh. "I guess, man—she's my godchild."
And then the deafening silence came back.
Naruto sighed after a while, after we all shifted around awkwardly at least fifteen times in a span of five minutes. "I… I…"
He didn't even finish, yet we fucking got it.
Then, silence came one more time and we began to walk away with Naruto on my right and Neji on my left. We paused at the parking lot and there was a sigh and a grunt and one of us shook our head. There was anger somewhere in there, somewhere in between the lines that separated the three of us. There was anger and hurt and discomfort and when we got to our individual cars I knew that was where it all ended.
When I drove out of that cemetery, I didn't stop driving until I was as far away from home as fucking possible.
Yeah, that's right. I ran away—I left home, I left Oto and I left everything fucking behind because I wanted to get away from it.
Did you really expect me to live there, knowing that every time Karin left the house it was to go to the hospital to see Ino and Suigetsu? You think I wanted to see her splotchy face, eyes red-rimmed because she always ended up crying without even realizing it? You think I wanted to walk and drive and see the same shit I would've with Kiba?
Hell fucking no.
I wanted the fuck out of my hometown.
And the funny shit was that I knew it was going to happen; somewhere in between finding out about the accident and the wake and the funeral I had packed some shit up and shoved them in my trunk, ready for whenever I lost all my sanity and decided to fucking floor that shit and get the fuck out.
Guess the funeral and the emptiness of what was left of our circle and the inability to even be able to have a decent conversation with what was left of my friends was the last fucking straw.
And could you even blame us for that sorry excuse of a moment in the cemetery? Would you have been able to swallow everything up and talk and grieve with your two last best friends? I bet you're saying yeah and I bet you're calling us idiots. Well fuck you, ain't no one perfect like you, princess. People grieve in different ways.
Ours was to drift away.
A decade and a half of friendship stocked up and stored away on a shelf. You know how when an empire falls, everything goes into complete chaos? Yeah, that's how some friendships are, how dealing with grief and loss is; spare me your judgment.
It was easy, too—leaving. Disappearing and running away was my specialty; remember, I said so before, I ran away a lot to gather up my thoughts and brood in peace and shit like that. So leaving hadn't been a problem; the only difference was that I wasn't gonna come back anymore.
That's how Rei and I wound up in Konoha.
My parents were from Konoha before they moved down to Oto when my older brother was born. See, Oto is a small town—like the ones in the movies with Victorian homes with front and back porch and white fences and a small park at the center of the town. Oh, and everyone knew each other.
Konoha, though, is big and loud—a city that never slept, city lights swallowing the stars. You gotta look both ways to cross the street coz ain't no one stopping for you.
When Rei and I got there, we stayed at a grungy motel for a while, while I looked for a small and convenient place to stay. We found a place on the second day of searching; in the downtown district of Konoha, in an apartment complex colored a dark teal with black gates at the entrance.
The place available was on the fourth floor, apartment 4F—one bedroom, one bathroom, small kitchenette and a small living room. It was perfect; Rei was still so little, she'd sleep in the same room with me and when she grew up we'd just find a bigger place. It was all peachy good.
We moved in two days after finding the place, after signing a shitload of papers and getting to know the maintainers of the place. There were three of them—siblings—and by the meeting, it seemed like the girl was the one in charge while her brothers were there for an image thing, like, to show me who the bosses are. As if I gave a fuck and was easily intimidated.
The building was their father's before he passed away, so went the story.
I didn't much care but Rei was being entertained by one of her brothers and it felt nice to rest with no two-year old on my lap.
So that's how it went—my best friend died and my other two friends were lost in Limbo, their bodies in the hospital and attached to some machines. And the rest of us split apart instead of sticking together. And I moved away because I'm a goddamn coward. And I'm okay with that.
My phone rang a lot, after that.
I never really picked up. Just sorta stared at the caller ID—it was almost always my mother, or Karin, or Itachi and sometimes even my dad. Mom always left a voicemail that I never even listened to because I know she'd be angry and sad and probably asking me to come home. She'd also probably mention something about my dad being mad at me.
Not that that's any news to me. My dad's always mad at me; says I'm too much like he was when he was younger so he knows all the stupid shit I get myself into.
I shoulda probably disconnected that phone line or at least changed my number. But I don't know, I never really had the heart to do it; maybe it was coz changing my number woulda been like cementing the fact that everything changed. That something in my life got fucked up and I was switching gears to get away from it.
Sounded like too much wangst for something like changing my phone number, but that's legit how it'd felt.
The days blurred into themselves and I was nothing but a numbed fool rolling along with them, taking care of my new daughter and not having a clue of what I was doing. Grieving was hard; if I wasn't paying attention to what was going through my mind, what I was doing, the thoughts would flood right on in and I was suddenly cold and distant and thinking about what if I had gone with them? What if I was the one driving?
My driving was always more reckless and faster than Kiba's but I always knew what I was doing.
Would we have all been in the same accident?
Would Kiba be dead?
Would I still be here, in this new city, in this new home, with my new daughter?
And then I'd think about how just the day before I had spent the day eating pizza and drinking beer with my asshole friends—the five of us, in my room being complete fucking morons like we always did since the moment we turned eighteen and could legally drink without having to pretend what was in our water bottle was flavored juice or water.
And the day after, suddenly, my best friend was dead and my other two friends were in the hospital.
How the fuck does that saying go?
You never know what you had until it's gone.
But that was the life I was living, then. Some dumb asshole with a few screws loose up in his head and a terror of a two year old to take care of in some dingy apartment in an entirely new city.
This goes out to my best friends; Sonya, Rhea, Paige, Sara, Emily and Chloe and also to a special little friend I have named Charley.
First POV is my most favorite style to read and I've been reading it a lot both on here (staring at you Daisy) and with books. I haven't written in this style since Soda Pop, bless that ridiculous fic (wait there's that girlbroship fic I never finished...) and so I'm excited! Most of you should remember this one, I rewrote it about three times before I decided the story I wanted to tell would be better told in first POV.
So yeah! This was supposed to be a oneshot but it got super long; it's finished and I'll post the second/last part... Soon.
In the words of this one bad bitch I know, tell me if you liked it, don't tell me if you didn't (: