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Friday, May 16, 2008

Shiruka yo...

Title: Shiruka yo...
Author name: Ruaki valhalla.
Author email:
Category: Is there a fluff category? ;
Keywords: Naruto, Sasuke, bathhouse!
Spoilers: Up to Chapter 33
Disclaimer: I WISH!!
Author's Note: SasuNaru fluff ahead. The fic takes place directly after the Zabuza-Haku arc. Naruto-tachi are still in the Wave village. Also, a gratuitous use of Japanese words. I apologize. From what I roughly figure 'dobe' means something about mud.. o. Basically it's a fancy word for idiot. So is 'usurakontachi' 'Aniki' is 'elder brother.' 'Shiruka yo.. sonna koto'... is what Sasuke said to Naruto when Naruto questioned why Sasuke saved him. I believe some translators put it as 'How am I supposed to know?' It's one of my favorite lines from the series.

'Sometimes the heart realizes things the mind hasn't.'

I sank deeper into the water, draping a washcloth over my face. What the hell did Kakashi mean by that? Fhn. Mystery speaker, nonsense worshipper.

The water of the bath was warm, the steam rising from the surfaces relaxing the lungs even as the liquid relaxed the muscles. And that's all I wanted--needed--right now.. relaxtion. Peace. Quiet from turmoil, questions, and earlier events.

Momentary death was an experience I care never to repeat. Much less a death that was not in line with my goal.

If that boy had been aiming to kill.. I would have lost everything before I had even gained it... because of that.. that... usuratonkachi...!

Calm down, Uchiha. Starting with the fingers and toes, working up the limbs.. force your muscles to be like the water...

The acupunture wounds left by that Haku brat had subsided--Kakashi assured me that it wouldn't even leave noticeable scars--but the ache they left behind was still strongly present. Under duress, I found myself unable to even stand. Until my body fully recovers, I had trouble walking of my own volition.

There are many strong people in this world... and I needed to be better than all if I was going to beat my brother. This was a lesson that I was still weak--weak in strength and in mind. I lost track of my goals when trapped in that mirror jutsu... lost track enough that I nearly sacrificed everything important to me to save someone I don't give a damn about.

Fhn. Foolish.

One, two, one, two... breathing even, clearing the mind. Sending all stray thoughts into a void, focusing on a single solitary leaf, fluttering in the nonexistent wind. One... two...

Meditation is not unlike death.

"The leaves are falling again, Sasuke-kun."

The young boy stared upward as the wind rustled the crisp golden leaves, sending them dancing away. "I'll catch them all for you for you to keep during the winter."

Ruffling his hair fondly, she laughed. He liked her laugh. Like chimes. "Let them be free. They have been trapped for two seasons. Like children, they are ready to leave the nest."

He turned his head and smiled up at her, his precious mother. The sun gleamed from behind, igniting her with a holy glow he had to squint against. He couldn't see her face.

"To die." Hands shot forward, gripping him around the neck, thumbs jabbing into his laryinx.

It wasn't his mother. His mother never had such a voice, his mother never said such a thing. His mother would never hurt him.

His mother was dead.

"A... anik..." His tiny hands gripped at the strong wrists, trying with all his might to rip away at this monster. Kicking and struggling, clawing and desperately trying to cry out for help. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe. "M.. moth.." The world spun, a rapid axis of fire and darkness, revolving around a gleaming red pinprick in the silhouette of the strangler. His heart skipped even as his squirming slowed. And as a last desperate attempt, he lunged forward, feeling the laryinx crushed in his throat, but his kunai was in hand, point aimed at his brother's heart...


The kunai halted. Quivered. And dropped with a loud splash into steaming water.

Large blue eyes stared at me in shock, the light brow furrowed slightly in worry. Not dark-haired.. and certainly not red-eyed.

Not.. aniki...

A panicked glance around revealed I was in the springs at bathhouse... and not in the yard of my clan's home. A memory. A dream.

I buried my face in my hands, gasping for air. I didn't realize I had held my breath the entire time. Doki doki. My heart was beating so quickly, I knew my chest would explode.

A dream.

A dream... that was still very very real, Uchiha.

I curled my fingers against my face and dug the nails in deep, hoping the pain would keep me from breaking out into tears like some kind of sissy. The dreams still scared me. And if I was alone, maybe I would've let the tears come. Ninjas never show their emotions.

But not in front of him.

The swish of water as he moved forward. "Sa.. Sasuke, are you okay? Looked like you had a bad dream..." His hand touched my shoulder, and I flinched away as if burned.

"I'm fine!," I snarled, glowering at him from between my fingers. "Leave me alone!"

He looked hurt for just a brief moment. I guess he assumed my cooperation with him on this trip gave us an understanding about our rivalry. It was brief though. Cause his eyes narrowed shortly after that, his brows furrowing together in a scowl.

"You don't have to get your shorts in a knot, jerk! You should be thankful that I came when I did!"

"I didn't ask for your help!"

"Well, I never ask for yours, but you're enough of a prick to give it any way!"

I wasn't in the mood for this. Not in the mood to tolerate this ungrateful dobe and his ignorance. I sat up as best as I could with my body stiff from the wounds and sleeping in an awkward position. "Get the hell away from me!" And I raised my arm to punctuate my words.

Only to stop. And feel my ears beginning to burn.

I didn't realize how close he actually was to me till now, wearing only a towel and a pissed expression. And myself? Just water and steam as my only cover.

Naruto is the last person I would expect for me to get shy with.

Dropping my arm, I pulled my knees as close to my chest I could, scooting up against the rocks behind me as much as I was able. "Just go away," I muttered, glancing away and using every inch of my ninja training to keep the incoming blush at bay. This was too embarrassing.

One could almost hear the gears running in his head as he dealt with the turnabout in my behavior. He was as quick with his mind as he was with his feet--which means that it would be another hour before he would finally leave me in peace.

So much for a nice relaxing bath. Although I must admit, it was ruined the moment I fell asleep.

Twisting around, I grabbed my towel from the rocks and then stood, quickly wrapping the cloth about me while fighting back another blush. It was hard standing--my knees wobbled. I gripped the edge of an outcropping to hide my weakness.

He blinked and then tossed his head, jabbing a finger in my direction. "Hmph. Who would want your moody company anyway?"

"Who would want your company, usurakontachi?"

His eye twitched. "Obviously more than you, Loner-kun."

"Hmph. They're just people that get in my way," I smirked, turning toward the rocks and grasping them to pull myself out. " Like you."

I had expected some kind of retort or a temper tantrum from the idiot, but his silence surprised me. I glanced over my shoulder. "Cat got your tongue?"

"I'm sorry."

Wha...?? I gaped at him, absolutely sure that some water had gotten into my ears or someone else had transformed into Naruto to lay a trap for me.

A sincere apology... from...?? No. No, no no no.

His head bowed, hiding his face from me. "You almost ...died... you know.. and ... well.." His voice lowered to a whisper. "It would have been my fault."

Damn straight it would have. I nearly told him that. But I didn't. I should've.

"I'm always getting in the way..." His hands curled into tight fists, shoulders shaking even as his head snapped up, eyes glittering. "And that's what I'm gonna stop. You'll see... soon, it'll be you that'll be in my way."

I snorted. "Whatever," came my reply, and I lifted myself up over the rocks. Or that was the plan. My muscles locked half-way through, sending sharp pinpricks of fire through my limbs. Gritting my teeth, I ignored the pain and willed myself to finish my ascent.


I wasn't even aware that I had slipped and fallen, till I felt a brief rushing sensation accompanied by the slap of breaking water. No big deal, Uchiha--just stand up and start over. Sure, Naruto might make a few cracks but you can always smack him around if he gets too annoying, right?

"Hey, hey, are you all right?" Blue abysses stared at me from over my shoulder. Oddly like the jewels in my mother's handmirror. I grunted in response.

His arms tightened around me. "Oof. You sure? Can you stand?"

I blinked.

And blinked again.

And blinked once more for good measure.

The blood rushed to my head so quickly that the world spun for a moment.

I assume he had caught me when I fell--probably out of reflex more than anything else--and here we were, back to front, his arms encircling my waist and chest, and much closer in proximity to me than anyone has ever been in my entire life, short of my family. He was surprisingly warm and his grip was surprisingly gentle, but that doesn't change the fact that this was Naruto holding onto me. Naruto, dead last from our class, annoying rival, the loudest, most abrasive person I ever had the displeasure of meeting.

"I'm fine!" I exclaimed--louder and higher than I wanted to--jerked away, to put my full weight on my feet. My knees wobbled crazily and I collapsed again, flailing to grab whatever I could to avoid a clumsy spill.

"OW!! Stupid! No need to grab so hard!" Naruto awkwardly pulled me up against him, scowling. "Idiot."

Resting my chin against his chest, I glared up at him, ordering my knees to straighten enough for me to at least be upright. "Fault... your this.. all!" Hm. Seems as if my brain has issued a cease and desist on my motor skills. An amused expression crossed that vulpine face. "I mean, this is all your fault!"

"Pretty much, I guess." Grasping me by the waist, he pulled me onto my feet and slipped an arm underneath mine. "Lean on me."

I hesitated.

Noticing my hesitation, he grinned reassuringly. "I don't bite." Coming from someone else, I'd guess that was a flirtation. But this was Naruto.

Red-faced, I obliged, leaning against his side. Geez, he was so short. I never really noticed in all honesty.. something about his spirit really made him seem taller. It was probably the way he demanded attention. And that warmth... like when we had that thrice-damned 'first kiss'... like when he held me when I 'died'...

Slowly, he half-dragged me to where the rocks weren't so high. "Na.. Sasuke.."

"What?" I asked curtly, embarrassed by the simple fact that I needed Naruto's help for something. That, and he was invading personal space. I tried to concentrate on everything but the rhythm of his heartbeat.

"I never did thank you.. yanno... for saving me."


"So.. yanno.. thanks."

'Shiruka yo... sonna koto...'
'Sometimes the heart realizes things the mind hasn't.'

... fhn. Whatever.

"You owe me. Just remember that, before giving me your thanks."

He was uncharacteristically quiet at that. I twisted my head to glance down at him, wondering about the odd expression that crossed his features. A determined look, mixed with anger and helplessness and something wholly un-Naruto.

'Soon, it'll be you that'll be in my way.' His former words crossed my mind. I could tell they were already stewing in his.

I smirked. "I look forward to the day when you'd actually be worthy enough to be my rival, dobe."

Naruto whipped his head around, glowering. "I'll drop you here and now, so shut up." An empty threat, and we both knew it. My smirk widened, and he poked me hard in the ribs.

I flinched, smirk transforming into a frown. "Stop that."

A slow, devilish smile crossed his lips and he poked me again, evoking another flinch from me. "I said, stop it."

"I heard ya." Poke. Poke. Poke. "Heh.. whaddya know? Sasuke's ticklish!" And he laughed.

"S-Stop it, idiot!" I choked out, attempting to squirm away from the dreaded jabs. "This isn't funny!" A snicker escaped me.

Poke. Poke poke. "Whatcha gonna do about it, Sa-su-ke-kun?"

"I'm gonna kick your--ah, stop it!" I pulled away suddenly--anything to escape--and teetored off balance, arms windmilling before I fell back, grabbing Naruto's arm as I did so and jerking him down with me into the water.

I groaned, blinking water from my eyes. And then went still.

Wriggling. In my lap. Someone.

Naruto lifted his head, shaking droplets from his hair. "And you call me the klut--" He cut himself off, staring.

The world halted.

We were sitting chest-deep in the water, him in my lap, face mere inches from mine. I could see the faint violet streaks lined around his pupils which gave his eyes a strange clear vibrancy not unlike gems. They were pretty. Naruto was totally incapable of hiding his emotions because of those eyes. Another reason he would never make a decent shinobi.

'Shiruka yo... sonna koto...'

Cheeks flaring red again--which I was damn sick of--I turned my head away, biting my lip. Get the hell off me, Naruto. Get off, before I realize why I saved you.

"E.. eh... s-sorry!!" And mercifully, he moved away, fixing his askew towel.

"It's nothing." I couldn't look at him and instead focused on willing my blush away.

'Shiruka yo...' Such pretty eyes. He rarely looked at me like that.

"Lemme help you up..." Naruto grasped my arm.

Scowling, I jerked away from him. "Leave me alone. You've done enough damage."

His cheeks puffed out indignantly. "Hey!! I'm only trying to help!"

"And you're just making it worse, usurakontachi. Leave me alone. I can do this by myself." I still refused to look at him and that blush wasn't going away.

Throwing his hands into the air, he turned away and stomped through the water to climb out. "Fine!! Do whatever you want, jerk! Last time I offer you any kind of help!"

'Shiruka yo...' So warm. He was alone like me... '...sonna koto...' I closed my eyes, listening to Naruto grumble as he left.

"'I hated you...'" The words rang throughout the empty bath-house.


A/N: Er. Yeah. ; Anyway. :pouts: More Naruto fics, I think, are needed. ;

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