* * * * *
“Just shut the fuck up!”
I yelled and the words bounced around us. It was loud, behind the noise of movement and our two voices—entwined by notes
of rage or frustration. I was hot from my anger and irritated beyond belief. He just wouldn’t shut up.
The lights were dizzyingly bright in my
eyes, but they were gone too fast for me to do anything more than blink. Surrounded by blacks and the reds in the distance—red
little beacons of light that begged me to stop—and yellow in front of me
that’d just turned from green.
The wheel was hot under my hands and I
turned to look at him. His face, so eerie and pale in the dim light, seemed twisted with something too wrong for me to see. My eyes only narrowed at the sight of him and I growled low.
His voice was high with tension and frustration
and I could have sworn I heard something different in his tones—but I was
too angry to care. “Watch the road!” he screamed—I screamed?—and I finally tore my eyes away—
—two pools of light sped towards
us and from somewhere a loud noise buzzed in my ears.
I jerked the wheel hard to the left—trying
to get back in control, back in the right lane.
Our voices mingled in unnatural harmony.
. .synchronization that came from sheer terror.
For an instant the car was on two wheels—and
then the night swallowed me.
the ditch more than I saw it, and I heard my Sasuke screaming at me, for me. He choked on words I couldn’t understand
as we turned—somersaulting without leaving our seats. The ground reached up to grab me and the glass cracked. The first
tree only served to slow us down—
I saw green in the black and heard the
shouts from somewhere else.
We flipped again and for an instant I was
with Sasuke, hitting against him and we thudded to the ground. My feet were above
my head and next to me a loud screetch and thun
brought my mind to our heads—I clutched my neck and tried to keep from screaming. That, too, only slowed us down—
And we went tumbling again in our cage
of steel and rubber—
My eyes burned and my arms felt as though
they were aflame.
we skidded to a final stop at the foot of something that went crkkk. I shakily
exhaled and tried to find my way out. Next to me, Sasuke moaned and opened the door—he walked out cursing and yelling.
“. . .Sa. . .” I tried to call
to him, tried to speak, but the blood in my mouth told me something was wrong. I
choked and tried again. “Sasuke. . .”
I remember voices, and a tall man with
cold, cold hands around my waist—and Sasuke yelling something unintelligible. I remember pain.
I remember black eyes and black hair. .
And the darkness claimed me.
* * * * *
The voices in the room faded in and out of my consciousness, and I felt myself slip back into dreams for a while.
When I woke again, the pain had not subsided.
I breathed shakily and listened to the quiet, seething voices next to me while I tried to figure out what was wrong with me.
“Naruto. . .” Sasuke noticed
I’d woken up. I smiled shakily at him and winced at the pain. My mouth hurt.
It was too dry. . . “My head’s broken. . .” he mumbled, and touched his well-bandaged forehead.
I scowled at my boyfriend and moaned quietly
at the pain the action brought. “. . .and I look peachy, I’m sure.”
I mumbled, but neither Sasuke nor the other man understood. I made a face as I looked around.
Black hair. Black eyes. One Uchiha kid
and one Uchiha man stared down at me. Itachi,
my mind supplied the name. I shuddered as I recalled his strong hands beneath my neck—
“You shouldn’t talk,”
Itachi noted. He ignored his brother. “You bit through your tongue.” He clarified, and I closed my eyes against
his bland expression. The guy looked like he was discussing the weather.
I ignored his suggestion and tried again,
“I was there.” He clarified.
I blinked. “You carr—”
“I carried you to the roadside and
assisted your breathing.”
There was nothing I could say to that,
so I went back to sleep with Sasuke babbling in my ear about his head.
“Broken, broken. . .Naruto, you broke
my head. . .”
* * * * *
I hobbled through the Uchiha kitchen
with the aide of crutches—attached, I might note, to my arms. Nine of my fingers were broken from the accident. And all he can talk about is his head? What the fuck is up with him?
Sasuke banged loudly through the cabinets
in search of a dish. We were making lasagna. “You fucking asshole, I can’t
do anything with you here—” Sasuke was near screaming. I ignored him,
and tried to find a comfortable way to sit without asking for assistance. “You
never help me—”
“—and I’m supposed
to do that how?”
“Where’s the fucking
A dark figure in the entryway. A
quiet chuckle preceded a vague gesture to the counter. “Where you left it,” Itachi murmured, and Sasuke’s
eyes widened with. . .something I can’t even name.
“Get the hell outta here, bastard.” He snarled. “I don’t. Want. You. Here!”
And the glass
pans he’d been holding went flying through the air. Itachi didn’t bother
to move. They crashed to the ground—barely a foot in front of him—and he said, “I’ll leave,”
and he turned to look at me. No smile crossed those thin lips. Wordlessly, he walked—crh, kkk, the glass broke beneath his feet—to me and helped me sit—unscrewing this and adjusting that—as
Sasuke breathed in ragged, short breathes.
When Itachi walked away I realized it.
The glass had hit Itachi—
—and the blood fell thinly down his
* * * * *
Months passed and I finally healed. I was
just back from the hospital—doctors said I’d be perfectly fine now—and I wanted to share the news.
But when I got there. . .
I heard nothing in the way only dead silence can be heard. Shit, it was me without
something to say. . .the house was so quiet. . .I opened the doors easily, because Sasuke had long ago made me an extra key.
I fumbled through the hallways and listened for my boyfriend. . .my. . .Sasuke, I guess.
It’s. . .weird. I can remember these
things like they happened hours ago. . .and then I forget things like birthdays or returning calls.
. . .I’d like to just forget it all.
. .forget and never come back, but what can I do but see and remember. . .?
The house, normally spotless and smelling
faintly of gently perfumed wood, was rank with it. . . the stench was unbelievable. I noticed it before, like when I came
in the house that day, but only after I opened the sliding door—the one to the formal room, complete with the tatami
mats and everything—
hit me then. I fought the urge to gag as I covered m nose and mouth with one hand.
There was blood.
Blood all over the floor and splattered
between the woven fibers—the tatami would never be clean— and it was sticky, wet and terrible. But nothing was out of place. . .nothing was broken. . .like. . .like someone had wanted to give up. Wanted to die and leave all this crap behind.
I’m not gonna lie. My stomach heaved
and I woulda thrown up then an’ there if I’d eaten anything. But dry heaves hurt like hell and the stench wouldn’t
leave me alone and I was scared. Shit, who wouldn’t be? I went over there
to find my boyfriend, went to tell him something stupid, something absolutely ridiculous and wasteful about how I was better
and no, I don’t even remember why. He’d see it soon enough.
I remember crying. My face was hot and
icy with shock. It’s the most uncomfortable thing in the world. . .crying like that.
Finally, something clicked in m head.
Someone’s dead. . .And my heart froze. Sped up so that I could hardly move
between the fear and horror and fuck.
“Sasuke—” I croaked.
Coughed, choked. Shit. . .I clenched my hands into fists and looked frantically
for a body. The body. “Sasuke!”
He didn’t answer me. . .never
answered me. . .but. . .I moaned quietly and tried to listen for the sounds of life.
I remember shaking and hobbling over to
the other side of the room. I think he was crying. . .there were no noises, though, when I opened the door—
—my fingers hurt—
He was holding his knees, and the blood
covered him, too. I almost choked, but I bent over instead, and pulled him to me and babbled some shit about getting out before—
But Sasuke didn’t move.
For an instant, my whole existence seemed to stop, freeze. There were no reasons for me to—
“Shit. . .Sasuke. . .” I clutched
him to me. Turned him around.
His. . .expression. . .
. . .I don’t think I’ll ever
forget it. . .
Lips flakey with blood and mouth full of
spit and more blood and eyes wide, wide and staring. His mouth was stretched into a horrible grin that spoke of nothing but hurt and madness and a hunger for. . .
But his eyes were so sad. Wide and beautiful
even then and full of unshed tears. Pain. Madness. He didn’t look like the Sasuke I knew. . .
. . .the Sasuke I’d loved. . .
I pulled him to me, pressed our mouths
together in the last real kiss that I’d ever give him. My lips remember the
acrid taste of blood. . .
That was when he screamed. . .
. . .and screamed. . .
. . .like he’d never, ever stop.
* * * * *
Itachi is dead.
All that blood was his.
No one knows how it happened. . .or what
actions followed what events. Sasuke can’t tell anyone. . .he hasn’t said
anything. He just moans and screams and sometimes laughs. . .
It scares the hell out of me.
But. . .
I hate him. I hate that he’s so selfish
and arrogant and callous to leave me alone with all this crap—the police interviews, the media and our friends and—
Fuck. His parents are nothing but two self-absorbed and hateful people who can’t
even help their son with his problems. . .
God. . .his head. . .he said his head was broken. . .fucking asshole, he pinned it all on me. I shoulda heard, shoulda understood that
he’s fucked up. But
I didn’t and now this—
Fucking press won’t leave. . .
Sasuke. . .my Sasuke—
* * * * *
It’s over now. All that crap with
the murder. . .and the courts have sentenced Sasuke to. . .well, he’s got to live in a mental health facility. They
won’t let me in to visit—not to his room, anyways. They told me that I’m only allowed in the day section,
and only for a little bit each day.
. . .no one’s mentioned out-trips.
Sasuke seems frailer, fragile almost, than
before. He just looks at me and doesn’t really smile, per se. . .he’s.
. .sweet, really. Like a kid.
‘But don’t forget,’ someone’s
sure to remind the crap outta me—‘He murdered his brother in cold blood!’
What does ‘cold blood’ mean,
My Sasuke wouldn’t clutch at my hand
upon entering a big, old-looking building. He wouldn’t hide his head in my shoulder and pull at my shirt—
—he would hold his head high, right?
Glare at everyone like they, not him, were insane, and he’d treat even me
with that cold sort of dispassion that drives me up the wall.
I press my lips together in a firm line,
and try to act like that. . .but the walls of brick and concrete scare me, too. It’s. . .dead here. . .
Sasuke flinches away from the door as it
opens, and looks with those wide, beautiful eyes upon the structure—prison—he’s been sentenced to.
And something in him changes. His eyes
narrow, and he glowers at the receptionist from behind two men—here to escort us—and he snarls. Everyone tenses
but me. I smile, and pull him into an awkward hug. Like a child, he grips my neck and shoulders. . .like he wants to be picked
up and spun around—
—like a bird. Like a kid.
I try to keep smiling, but it wavers.
I close my eyes, and I can’t help
the feelings that filter through. . .
I want my
* * * * *
It’s. . .been awhile. . .
Sasuke’s been there for a while,
and. . .I visit. For a while, it was only for once a week. . .he’s been going to all kinds of therapy and shit, and
apparently he doesn’t like it any better than I would. They’ve got ‘im on this star system like a fucking kindergartener. . .it’s humiliating and awful
to do that to a guy.
them an’ their stars.
Fuck ‘em all.
I remember it, still.
The thoughts shift in my head. Sasuke’s
birthday is coming up. . .only a little longer an’ they’ll move him to the adults’ wing. Shit. . .a year
and some days is a little while?
. . .I wanna cry. . .
I want him
to yell at me or yell back when we’re arguing. . .not just sit there
and. . .not listen.
One time, I was trying to get him to do
some homework and he just. . .sat there, curled against me with his head on my shoulder and his hands on my hip. And he blew
softly on my cheek like he couldn’t hear a damn thing. It’s so stupid and
it makes my heart fold into a tiny, hurting ball that consumes. . .everything.
I hate it. . .but. . .couldn’t he have been that. . .sweet. . .before?
he stroke my cheeks—so soft and smooth. . .the feeling of his slender fingers—and murmur little cooing noises
in my ears. . .? He never, ever ran his fingers up and down my wrists, swirling into tiny little circles of. . .
. . .I dunno.
. . .infinity?
God, when he touches my lips I just want
to pull him into a warm embrace and kiss like we—
—but I can’t.
And I’ve got to leave.
Got to get out of here before I hurt him. . .before I do something that
shouldn’t be done
* * * * *
I saw them in the hallway, actually. They
treated the receptionist like some kinda lower being instead of a person and it
irritated the crap outta me. . .well, she just stands there with those sad eyes.
. . .eyes like Sasuke’s. . .
And he, he glowers and puffs like a damn
soldier he wishes he could be. But he’s just an officer. Fuck, and not even a good
They always liked Itachi better, anyways.
I don’t know why they even bother
coming here. They hate him, can’t even like—much
less love—him. But they come and try and fuck everything up.
“Hey,” I say with a grin, and
I shove my hands in my pockets. My old jeans—orange and fading—suddenly seem so. . .tasteless. Even though I wouldn’t
trade anything for them. “How’re you guys?”
Her eyes lift and swell with tears.
I’m never sure if she’s crying
or herself or Sasuke. . .or are her tears for Itachi after all?
at me, and his eyes turn to tiny slits. “Naruto,” he nods. “Still coming?” He scoffs with disdain.
“I would have expected you to give up by now.” He remarks with a tiny
twitch of lips.
“You should leave my Sasuke alone,”
his wife says, but her tone is hallowed and dead. She’s reciting lines that lost their meaning ages ago.
The receptionist looks uncomfortable as
I sign up for a pass. She murmurs something indistinct and smiles shakily.
I grin and reply, “I know you, Mrs.
Uchiha, blame me for everything that’s happened. . .but why don’t we
just work together now and try an’ help Sasuke?”
The doctors like me better, I wanna say,
but. . .the Uchiha family foots the bill.
His attempt at a smirk deepens to a feral
snarl. “IF you try to continue your relationship with my son. . .”
we ere down the hall from the sign-in station, “. . .nothing good will happen.
I laughed. “Fuck him up worse than
you did? I mean, who could fuck their kid up worse than by saying eating anything
sweet will kill you—through what, gluttony?” I smirked, knowing fully
well that the birthmarks on my cheeks made me look wild and cruel.
But Sasuke ran up to greet me anyways,
and he pulled my smirk to a slow and steady smile.
“Naruto,” So sweet. .
.his eyes. “You’re here.”
He didn’t say a word to his parents.
* * * * *
Days later, when they finally let me see
Sasuke again, I got an idea.
The smile he greeted me with was amazing.
. .beautiful and serene. . .not like anything he’d shown before—
I grinned at the nurse and nodded a little.
The change I my pocket clicked and little, and I pulled Sasuke over to a chair. I sat down in one squishy arm, and Sasuke
sat on the other—our feet soon lost their shoes and then met on the soft cushion. For a while, we just played—touching
each others’ feet gently with naked feet. And I enjoyed his soft attention and small smile.
I leaned in towards the middle, and Sasuke
giggled as he met me there. I slowly put one hand on his shoulder, and my lips touched his ear. . . “Do you wanna go
He turned his face to see my eyes, and
my lips touched his cheek. I trembled slightly, and recalled the taste of blood. . .
I grinned shakily, and winked at the closest
doctor. “I’m gonna take Sasuke to the bathroom, ‘kay?” and she only stared—preoccupied with
someone’s antics—and watched us leave.
We were outside within minutes, and the
guard who watched the gate smiled at me. It was a smirk, a lewd little grin that
spoke of a dirty mind. I just winked, and he let us by.
. . .most of the doctors know that Sasuke
‘n me were. . .more than friends. . .
But he only smiles at me and touches my arm, my face. . .my stomach. . .and gently traces patterns on my skin to make me warm. . .
“So, uh. . .” I smile shakily
and gesture to the street. For a moment, Sasuke seems almost. . .normal. His expression is simply bored. Listening. “You wanna eat ice-cream. . .?” I ask, and his face lights up with a smile more
striking than anything I’ve ever seen.
“I want ice cream.” Even his eyes are smiling. God, I want you. But I
only nod, and we walk.
After a while, I realize we left out shoes
in the institution. So, like any good guy, I get us some flip-flops. True, they’re
girls’ shoes, but who the fuck cares? And the cashier only smiles when I’ve bought three pairs and tuck a mismatched
pair under my arm. Sasuke loves it and we go find ice cream. . .
My. . .Sasuke. . .I ant him back. . .I
want him with me. And I feel so—so terrible
when I even think that.
We walk around or a bit, and buy tea for
Sasuke. We return to the hospital grounds and sit on a bench to watch the clouds pass above us.
“. . .Sasuke. . .” I say, and
he turns to look at me. . . “Do you even. . .” I clench my hands into fists.
His eyes turn to my hands and a smile graces
his lips. In wonder, he grasps my larger hand and measures our palms. And he looks at his
hands—the backsides—and he just smiles so sweetly.
“. . .it’s not going
to get better, is it?” I murmur and Sakura’s words fly like bullets through my mind. Give it up. Sasuke’s gone. . .
need to talk to someone. . .get some help.
One of the doctors started yelling from
the doorway before they caught themselves. Caught their composure and hustled over. I smiled to Sasuke, who put his head in
my lap. I listened to the wind and his breathing. I pat his head awkwardly, and said, “. . .I love you. . .”
The doctor lectured me on walking outside—she
couldn’t prove we’d left grounds—and she lead Sasuke inside.
I watched him with a quiet smile
and leaned against the wall. “Sasuke. . .” I touched my knee and felt the tiny ridges that formed my scars. All ‘cause of me. . .
. .all ‘cause of me, Sasuke’ll never be mine.
If he gets better. . .
. . .if he doesn’t?
. . .well, I’ll always have my smiles.
* * * * *