Title: If Only For a Moment
Warnings: Spoilers up to recent chapters
Summary: At least now, whatever happens, they will have had each other.
Disclaimer: Kishi owns, as we all already know.
A/N: The first of several fics I need to write now before canon comes and pwns me. D:
Naruto’s hand is warm in his. Oh, to be honest, they’re only touching a little, lying limp in each other like discarded handkerchiefs, and a lukewarm sweat has built up between the fingers.
This has happened before, of course.
Maybe not to them, but he is no longer naive enough to think that he is the only person who has ever felt. The children are holding hands, rapt merely with that– it’s almost banal. But rapt they are; Sasuke’s mind is filled with a fine, tender fluttering now and he watches himself as if from outside.
From here he can see a lot more, and it half makes him feel like an idiot, but only half, because he’s so tired and shaken, and anyway the ants are still crawling in his stomach. They do not speak, so a he just twirls a few loose pieces of straw between his toes as he mulls all of this over.
He can see the pattern behind that phrase about meeting the same people everywhere now. There are so many others with their personalities– No, better yet, even in this one Hidden Village there are other three-man teams with this same composition; he can name a few. There’s Team Gai for one; it’s probably lucky that they were a year apart, since it was hard to imagine Neji and himself in the same class– and he wasn’t even going to touch the thought of the lethal combination that Lee and Naruto would have made as study buddies.
Then there are, were, the sannin, of course– all the same. Sasuke can fill in the parts he doesn’t know, and it goes like this: one of the boys is anxious, full of things he has to prove, and he burns like the sun. The girl is pretty, devoted, talented, but she does not appreciate her own talent; she is restless and always looking for something else to fill herself. The other boy is angry and quiet, so possessed by the rusty things in his soul that gnaw at him. The girl dies last.
Well, he says to himself, It’s not really the same in every way though, is it? Bet Orochimaru and Jiraiya weren’t secretly in love with each other– But then he stops himself and shakes his head a little. Those two are dead now, and he has missed whatever opportunity there was to find out something like that; they took their secrets with them when they went, because they were people as well as sections of a pattern. They cannot be replaced.
The roof over Naruto and him doesn’t fit very well, and patches of sky can be seen overhead. The light has gone from gray to golden and he can see fragments of brilliantly red clouds; it is morning proper now. It’s a shabby little shed they’ve taken refuge in, but they were lucky to find it; it is one of the few buildings in Konoha still standing. It is enough for now.
He doesn’t actually remember how they got here; all he knows is that they fought (of course they did; he had been so angry for so long, so frustrated and so eager to take it all out on the person who made him furious with himself more than anything– the cool, collected prodigy shouldn’t feel like that when he thinks about him) until they were both exhausted and hurt– he thinks he’s going to try to put off putting any weight on his right leg for as long as possible– and he’s not entirely sure about everything that happened next, but he remembers Naruto’s blue eyes and...
...And he remembers that he let his sword drop from his hand and that then he kissed him. In retrospect he isn’t sure about much of what he’s done lately, but he is glad that he did that.
For now, he doesn’t think he wants to have any more grand plans; whatever is going to happen will and he will wait and see. Someone will come and find them, he supposes. He’ll be in deep shit then. Sasuke’s not clear on the precise definition of treason per se, but whatever it is, it’s probably exactly what he’s been doing. Maybe he still has some luck and some friends in high places and he’ll be able to wriggle his way out of this. Or maybe he won’t, and he ponders the idea of exile although he knows that’s probably a fantasy; more likely than not, he will be put to death. Either way, he doesn’t think he will even put up any resistance; for once he is too dazzled to want to fight. Whatever it is, just let it be.
(Yes, and maybe he will die, and the grass will grow thick over his grave, and then the only Uchiha left will be him. And the Hokage will always have that air of loneliness around him, and maybe people will wonder why that is, but they will never know. Except that he will keep a picture tucked away in his desk, and one day one of his assistants will find it and ask what on earth he has a picture of a traitor who was executed years ago for, and he will just shake his head– beautiful, as always, beautiful– in reply and say that it’s nothing. But that night he will take it out again and look for a long time....)
–But that may be what happens, and right now it still doesn’t matter. Right now they have each other. And he knows that there have been an infinitude of moments like this before, and there will be an infinity more after both of them are gone, but no one of them will be exactly like this, not quite, because this one is theirs.
And maybe we’re not special, and maybe there are a million others with our personalities, but that doesn’t mean there can ever be another you. You know how in Iwa they believe that the whole world turns around on a wheel, and when it gets to the end it’ll just go back to the beginning again? Even if that’s true and everything just repeats itself again and again, there won’t be another you and me, no matter what. And it is you I love.
He turns to look at their hands, which perhaps are stronger after all than limp rags, than bundles of bone and muscle. He squeezes Naruto’s hand tighter in his own.
“Cold hands, teme. Clammy. ’S nasty,” Naruto mutters.
“Shut up,” he shoots back without thinking, and for awhile they are silent again. The clouds outside gradually turn peach.
“I...” he starts and then pauses, wondering how awkward he must seem. And anyway, some things don’t need to be said.
But then, because this may be the only time he has to do it, and because it is the most courageous thing he’s done in years, he says it anyway.