A/N: Okay, another angst-filled AU SasuNaru…sorry about that. But as everyone knows, life isn't all buttered popcorn and helium filled balloons. People suffer. And it makes for great stories. Not that happiness doesn't sell, it's just it seems like there's a lot more variety in pain and sadness…go figure, this is the world we live in these days. I'm unsure whether to just end it here and leave it a one-shot, or go on to make it longer. I don't know how much fodder I have to keep it going so if you do want more, you might have to help me out a little bit. Anyway, enjoy and remember to review because they are like those moments in a book that you could just read over and over again. I live for those moments!
Disclaimer: You need your eyes checked if you think I'm the owner/creator of Naruto. Nope, I don't own it, although sometimes when no one's looking I pretend I do until my sister finds me and laughs…
Sasuke Uchiha plunged his head into the murky water bin, sputtering as he emerged, puffing the excess water from his mouth. His hair, lank like strings of licorice, stuck to his hallowed cheeks, creating an off-putting comparison next to the unhealthy sallow sheen that had applied itself to his skin; a sickly shade of gray-white, the washed out shade of colorless walls smudged with probing, dirty fingerprints. Slowly, he forced his eyelids to peel away from his ruby crusted eyeballs, irritated and diluted irises that couldn't land on one object for more than a moment.
A groan made its way up his throat, slipping through loose lips, to pervade the space around him. Huddling in the back of a grimy bathroom while the watered down cacophony filtered in from the raging club; streams of intoxicated laughter, spasms of the crashing waves of heavy rock music that left no room for talking. All of it was fake, no one was actually happy here, why did they pretend? A sneer contorted the young man's face as he rubbed his eyes tiredly; who was he to judge? The one with the largest, brightest mask, painted with those hues of apathy, and careless dissipation, drinking away the memories. A hypocrite in the first degree.
"Shit, dude, you look…" Sasuke's head bolted up at the new arrival's voice, a sharp reprimand ready to fly from his mouth, only to die once his lips formed the shapes to bring them to life. The blonde man in front of him raised expressive eyebrows, a confused grin adorning his face as he shook his head, a loss of words.
"Naruto...get out of here." The retort fell short as Sasuke became victim to a string of heavy coughing. Dry, heaving rasps as he attempted to control himself, Sasuke brought his slender fingers up to his face, trying to smother the evidence. Naruto crouched next to him, a tentative hand coming to rub his back.
"Idiot, when was the last time you got something to eat?" Naruto's voice was saturated with concern, the admonishment obviously one that had been said before.
"Um-hm, and when did you last get a good night's sleep, Sasuke?"
"I don't recall asking you to be my babysitter, Uzumaki. These things don't concern you." The biting tone wasn't enough to scare the blonde off, nor was the piercing glare he was receiving. Naruto merely shrugged and raised a hand to Sasuke's forehead, brushing the sweat-matted hair aside. The skin prickled with heat. Naruto clamped his trembling lips together; realizing that pointing out that his friend was ill would only incite him further.
"Sasuke, you're not taking good care of yourself. You need to get over this…"
"Naruto, my parents were k-k...killed three days ago and you want me to get over it, like they were those goldfish you get at the carnival that die a week later? I'm sure you can forgive me a few days of malnourishment, because honestly, I feel too sickened by the thought of them lying there to even think of eating or sleeping at the moment. So I would advise you the shut the hell up and leave me alone." Sasuke had shoved himself off of the floor as he spoke and now he stood stiffly in front of Naruto, eyes blistering like the glare of a car's headlights amidst the pitch blackness around it. The more he spoke, the angrier he got, trembling as he fought the scalding tears that mutinied against his façade.
Naruto grimaced at the man in front of him, failing to resist the urge to snap right back at him. "Who else is going to deal with the bastard you've become? You know, I'm gonna get this off of my chest because it's not like you're gonna be mad at me for it more than a couple hours anyway. I have stuck by you for God knows how long, and it's always the same. Sasuke, I care for you! I would do anything to help you and seeing you torture yourself like this is too painful. I need for you to get better; I need you to forget already. Please, Sasuke, it's been long enough…" Naruto was cut off as Sasuke rammed him into the wall, his hand an iron grip around the blonde's throat.
"If you don't shut up, I'll kill you. It's been three fucking days, and I can't just 'forget already'! If I forget them, there is nothing left for me."
"You're wrong, Sasuke. You'll have me, granted you don't follow through on that stupid threat of yours. Now let go, I have something to prove." Grudgingly, Sasuke released Naruto, slipping back a few steps to give him some space. "Nuh-uh, I didn't say anything about moving back…" Naruto slunk forward, eyes soft. Carefully, slowly, the blonde brought a strong hand forward, resting lightly on Sasuke's thin cheek.
"Naruto…what…? I—" Sasuke was silenced as full lips covered his own. Naruto's lips were obliging and malleable, slightly chapped, but sweet and affectionate. Sasuke was surprised to find he liked his friend's taste; warm, like palatable joy, liquid sunshine. The blonde ran his fingers up Sasuke's side, tracing the indents in his ribcage and lovingly following the planes in his chest with deft fingernails. Firm arms slipped around the scrawny frame of the Uchiha, supporting him as his mouth made quick work of Sasuke's resistance. Lips bending, smothering, easing, Naruto led him in an intricate conversation of flesh. And then, as abruptly as Naruto had initiated the kiss, he pulled back to look the stunned Sasuke full in the face.
"Naruto, I didn't know…I…I…that was…." Sasuke raised his hands in a helpless gesture, indecision scrawled across his countenance. "But Naruto," Naruto looked up, eyes failing to disguise the bitterness as Sasuke continued, "I just can't, it's too soon." And with that, he broke away from Naruto, frail limbs shaking as he shook his head slowly, wincing as he saw the age-old bitterness badly disguised in the cherubic face. "I'm sorry…maybe in a couple months or something…I have to go." And he yanked on his shabby coat, with its sloppily sewn rips and dappled stains, fumbling to shrug it on as quickly as possible in the tight space. Once it was on, he shot a last look at the blonde and proceeded to speed out of the room.
"Eat something!" Naruto's voice carried shakily over the muffled din, and Sasuke waved him off with a brisk hand over his shoulder. "Please."
Tiredly, Naruto slumped back into the main room of the club, perching on a bar stool like the broken carcass of a baby bird after plummeting to the ground after jumping out of the nest. His forehead leaned into the pillow of his palm, blocking out the world.
The question came from the mouth of Shikamaru, the bar tender who had been witness to Naruto's struggle for the three months since Sasuke's parents' murder. "Is he recovering at all?"
"The short-term memory loss? Nope. Still thinks it's been three days since their death. He's convinced he just needs more time to get over it. I didn't even manage to get him to eat something today…and he only had a little yesterday. Shikamaru, he's killing himself." Naruto blew through his lips, eyes cloudy with remorse.
"What happened to him?" Shikamaru intoned, absentmindedly wiping a spot on the counter that had been under his scrutiny since the beginning of the conversation.
"Well, after his parents died…Sasuke kind of lost himself. For three days he spent all of his time here at the bar, I can't imagine how much alcohol he must've consumed in those seventy-two hours…anyway, I told him to head home, thinking he'd take the bus or something, call a friend, a cab…I don't know. The next morning I got a call from the hospital, apparently I was the only person in his contacts. They said he'd been in a car accident—he was driving himself…drunk as he was. The idiot. There'd been irreparable damage done to some part of his brain that affected his short-term memory. Essentially, at the end of each day, his brain would reset…he never remembers what happens, as far as I can tell when I ask him stuff about the day before. Now I just don't bother mentioning it, convincing him what happened…it's too much. He always just gets upset and runs away anyway. I don't know what to do and now, now I've gone and fallen in lo-in lo…."
"You've gone and fallen for the jerk, eh?"
"Yep. This must be the sixtieth time I've kissed him."
"Oh? What'd he say?"
"He always says the same thing, everyday. It's too soon. It'll always be too soon."