endless_scrolls: (Angst)
endless_scrolls ([personal profile] endless_scrolls) wrote2013-08-08 12:18 pm

No Place Like Home

Title: No Place Like Home
Type: Fanfic
Fandom: Naruto
Theme: "Three times Sasuke wished he could go home."
Character(s): Uchiha Sasuke; brief mentions of Uchiha Itachi, Uchiha Mikoto, Uchiha Fugaku, Orochimaru
Pairing(s): None.
Warning(s): Post-Timeskip Spoilers.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but these words.
Note: Written as a reply to a Three Times Meme request.
Dedicated to: Um... whoever made the request I suppose. Sorry it took so long. >_>;

I. Crawling

A mind is not a playground. But Sasuke knows differently, even at his young age. Because what's left of his conscious still sees his parents - still sees his brother - vibrant and animated and loving. Living. They greet him at the door when he comes home late from training. His mother scolds him for staying out after dark. But his father calms her frantic worry and tells him that he's at least proud of the diligence if not slightly disappointed with the results. And Itachi, dear brother Itachi, smiles and promises to teach him a better way to learn. Which is the only thing the young boy ever wanted in the world.

But, as always, the dream is short-lived and a false truth; the only thing that remains of his childhood innocence. Because Sasuke remembers with crystal clarity the tint of red that pooled under Mikoto's body. He remembers how the sharp edge glinted in the moonlight when it pierced his father's chest.

Most of all, he remembers the choking fear he felt when Itachi turned his predatory eyes towards him.

When faced with that nightmare again, five years later, he feels the elder's cold fingers squeezing around his throat and remembers it all. The fear comes soon after. Then came the swirl of black in red, and for what seems like forever, it's about all he can recall.

And in the dead of night - now, especially at having been so close - when those images wake him up to the darkness, Sasuke lays stiffly in his hospital bed and wishes. Knuckles white and brows furrowed with disgust, he longs to be able to just go back home, again. Back to the life he lived and back to a time where they were still alive.

Back to when he didn't think of his brother with malice and vengeance and hopeless rage.

II. Breaking the Habit

Pride was not always a virtue to praise. It had taken him a long time to walk the tedious and winding road and come to that conclusion on his own. Growing up, it was something Fugaku valued over most everything - the village, the Hokage, even his own sons - and became a lesson that he taught still, even now so long after death. But bit by ever grueling bit, Sasuke was beginning to realize that it was more of a curse than a blessing; that it was the bane of every Uchiha to bear, draped in power and dripping with ambition for things beyond their reach. And that sickening pride was what had gotten his clan killed; what was likely to end up getting him killed one day as well.

It was a truth that he's not likely to soon forget. If he did, Orochimaru was there with a heavy hand to quickly remind him. Because even now, broken and bruised with the bitter taste of blood and sweat on his tongue, Sasuke held on to the Uchiha ego like a lifeline.

A swift boot to the face was often his reward for such blind devotion.

The soldiers of Sound were hardly forgiving in their spars. There was no holding back. There was nothing friendly about their daily competitions. Support and camaraderie generally only went as far as your own agenda allowed, and the concept of friendship was in short supply. Here, it was every man for themselves; every mission for Orochimaru.

And so the attacks continued to come even after he had been brought down, his body pounded into dirt and stone until the call was made to stop; until the battlefield was anointed in the dark streaks of his blood. And even then, Rinji always found a means to get in one more jab - one more stab - that would leave him aching until the week's end. Because he was no longer the hero they'd made him out to be in Konoha; he was no longer the genius prodigy of the rookie class.

Here, Sasuke was merely a flake in a blizzard of snow. And he would be treated as such until the message sunk. Pride had no place for those who carved out their own destiny in rotted stone and betrayal. And even if he let the regret eat away at his soul - if he allowed himself to wish for home - there could be no turning back. There was no going home. Because there was no home to go back to, anymore. He'd slammed shut that door the moment he stepped away from the village and all its teachings. And that had been his choice to make. And now it was his burden to carry, along with every other consequence that came with his defection.

III. What I've Done

Humans were imperfectly flawed creatures. And even though he had placed himself - still placed himself - above the rights and and prestige of others, Sasuke was no exception. That much was starting to become clear as the constant fall of rain seeped into his tattered clothes and soaked through to his very bones. But despite the telling bruises and cuts and burns that mapped out their epic battle, the young shinobi could only register feeling one thing: cold.

It had been a hard-fought battle. He had walked a long and tiring road to get to this point, preparing and sacrificing everything of himself and his life in anticipation of facing up against his traitorous brother for the sole purpose of vengeance. Of retribution for the clan that he loved more than life and village. And still, it had not been enough.

By right, he should have been dead; should be dying. Instead of the icy kiss of rain streaming along his cheek, it should be the hot burn of his blood and tears. But more importantly, he should be facing a dark nothingness. Instead, Sasuke only saw grey.

It didn't make any sense.

Itachi held every advantage in this fight from the start - the experience, the focus, and the drive. And he had taken every opportunity to push Sasuke past his limits, leaving the younger shinobi nearly depleted of his chakra and barely able retain consciousness, let along stand.

He was simply empty.

And for that reason alone, Itachi should have won this battle; should have claimed his brother's eyes as his prize for a game well played. But in the last few seconds - with just the soft press of Itachi's fingers against his forehead rather than the maddening hunger of eager nails digging into his sockets - it became a question of belief, both what he knew and what he had assumed of his brother all these years. His mind reeled and pounded under the confusion and the endless circles of thought that constantly turned in that ever scrutinous consciousness. Because what if he had been wrong, all along?

The devastating and weighted idea of it made him want to choke down the scream that clenched at his throat.

And now, more than anything, he just wanted to turn back the hands of time. Maybe do things over again; do them differently. More than anything, Sasuke just wanted to go home...

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