Sasuke reflects after three years in the darkness of Orochimaru's lair.
Warnings : Slight SasuNaru, you can take it as love or friendship, what makes you happy because I'm not forcing one or the other on you. I know Orochimaru is creepy and it irked me to write OroSasu hints but it was necessary.
.o0o. = start/end of flashback scene
The dark tunnel felt like it was closing in, as if there was no more space and the world decided the corridor was not needed any longer. I denied the fast pace my feet demanded until I finally reached my door; there was no way in hell I was going to let any one see me in a hurried rush. The plain wooden panel led to the single room given to me when I had arrived years ago; I had been offered several opulent sets of chambers since then but I had refused them all. Soundlessly the key slipped from its hidden pocket into the lock and back again as I twisted the metal handle. The walls pushed towards me seeking to confine and suppress my life. Instinctively my eyes roved the chamber, over the sparse belongings and simple bed.
~Good, no item had been touched, though it is a shame. I could have done with beating some ninja senseless to relax a bit. Oh well.~
I knew both Orochimaru and Kabuto could access my room if they really wanted to; I didn't think the others were stupid enough to sneak in after what happened the last time. But then again, I had been proven wrong before; humans were known for making the same mistake twice. A sneer crossed my pale face as I remembered the unfortunate soul I had caught ransacking my room during the first year I was here. I had dealt with him very quickly. Let's just say he had to develop a one handed modification to his puppetry technique once I had given him a piece of my mind. One of Orochimaru's rules for gaining strength is to retain absolute control over other people.
I had wanted to avoid thinking about Orochimaru but I needed to face the situation head on, Uchiha pride refused to let me do any thing else. My thoughts returned to the disturbing event that happened this morning, not like being in the presence of the snake Sannin was any thing but creepy. Orochimaru always made my skin crawl when he spoke of his obsessions, despite the countless hours I had spent with him.
I knew Orochimaru wanted my body from the beginning; wanting to possess the Sharingan, the kakei genkai of the Uchiha clan. I honestly didn't care then, as long as Aniki was defeated I would have given my life again and again. I wasn't surprised when they brought up the subject after I had finished my katana training. It had been almost three years since Orochimaru had taken over that pathetic body so I had expected the 'talk' would come sooner or later.
Nothing had changed my desire for power, my revenge against Itachi. Both Orochimaru and I know we can't defeat him individually but together may be we'd have enough power. I shouldn't have changed my mind but some where along the line it had made the decision without me, because when Kabuto mentioned preparations I felt disgusted to my core. I was unable to immediately calculate the revulsion into my plans, such that the feeling surprised me. My body froze without my brain's permission but at least my infallible coldness had not twitched an iota from its expected form. I could not simply deny Orochimaru's claim to my body right then and there, it would have been suicide of a different kind. I had stalled using the tactic I used when they refused to give me my way, I compromised with Orochimaru. He wouldn't refuse me my demand; the bastard wanted me way too much to give up on me all together. I had let a hard edge emphasise every word that slipped from my practiced lips, retaining my normal expressionless appearance.
"You will not touch, or even think about touching my body until I say, Orochimaru."
Kabuto had given me a scathing look then. "You shouldn't talk to Orochimaru-sama that way."
~Like hell I was his slave. No Kabuto, you can keep him as your filthy, perverted master. I'll talk to him any way I damn well pleased.~
The glare I threw at the rouge medic-nin would have melted anybody else into a whimpering pile of terrified flesh grovelling at my feet. A veiled threat dripped within my venomous gaze, promising missing limbs that the talented man wouldn't be able to regenerate if Kabuto dared to cross my path any further than he already had. Kabuto was very strong - else Orochimaru wouldn't have kept him around for so long - but even he couldn't meet my heated stare for longer than a minute and finally averted his eyes to his master.
Orochimaru had just sat where he had previously been observing my morning practice, silent as death. The Kasunagi shifted in my stiffened grip by my side and his slitted eyes had flicked between the katana and me. The tension in the dark chamber had become palpable before Orochimaru moved another muscle to flap a thin sickly hand at me.
"Fine" he had announced in a decisive yet hungry tone. "I won't touch you without your permission, Sasuke-kun." Then his feral grin showed up displaying the small fangs that were characteristic of the snake-like old man. It was undoubtedly the warped smile Orochimaru reserved for when he concluded he would have the victory in the end.
I had left with a curt nod and composure intact, leaving the pair with a vision of my unforgiving back and the deadly Kasunagi slipping easily back into its sheath.
The scene brought me back full circle to standing in my bleak sleeping quarters. A draft of air slipped in through the crack under the door, curling cold fingers around my covered legs. As preoccupied as I was, I hardly noticed it.
~What the hell had changed!~
I refuse to let Itachi control me, playing me like a puppet. Why should Orochimaru be any different, for letting him take me meant letting him control me. The nausea returned as I thought again of Orochimaru possessing my body, of his corrupted soul latching onto my own and drowning it into oblivion. I almost gagged.
I desperately wanted to stop thinking, to stop feeling, I just wanted any thing to make this go away and I didn't care what. Abruptly I turned and slammed my fist into the rough stone wall, balling all my frustration, anger, and confusion into the one action. For a moment the sudden impact, pain and shock wiped every thing clean, but just for a moment. As my brain restarted, I thought I would regret such a rash move - Sasuke Uchiha had perfect self-control - but I didn't, I was almost glad I had caused myself pain.
I stared, morbidly fascinated, at the blood now weeping from my abused and injured knuckles. My obsidian eyes followed the stark red trail sliding down my long pale fingers, a half remembered memory overlapping the present.
A young almost innocent blonde, blue-eyed shinobi dug into the back of his hand with a kunai, his face tensed with determination as he rid his body of the poison.
"I'm never going to be frightened and try to back out of things."
The hot blood dripped serenely to the ground, splashing as it landed at his feet; the past and present became synchronous and mirrored each to the second.
"I'm not going to lose to Sasuke."
~Back then I had just looked on with mild amusement that such a dobe could think to ever compare to me.~
"I vow that to this pain in my left hand."
~He was always so strong. No matter what it was, he never backed down.~
The blonde was oblivious to a fault in a lot of things nevertheless when it came to me, some how Naruto and I always worked perfectly together. There was no denying it, Naruto and his antics had slowly chipped away at the barrier I had erected to shove every one away, a production of my revenge against a traitorous brother.
I had sworn to rebuild that wall of hate when I made the decision to use Orochimaru's cursed seal power, something that I was still trying to build past its original height. I had sworn to sever all bonds that had gotten me nowhere in my foolish thought to try Naruto's way to hidden strength; to protect the ones most precious to you.
~But I couldn't kill him. In the Valley of the End I couldn't kill my closest friend. I couldn't kill Naruto.~
My mind stumbled over the words it seemed my heart had known for a long time. But the blonde idiot was - still is - more precious to me than any thing else, even fulfilling my life's ambition.
~He made me waver, he made search for another way to power.~
I suddenly slumped against the closed door and slipped to the unforgiving stone, bloodied hand falling from its stationary position in the air. The action consequently wiped the red substance across the entrance to my room; it would stain later. The other hand cupped my flushed forehead, elbow against drawn up knees, as I let my head drop forward. It felt too heavy for my neck to hold it up on its own any more. My vision blurred, the ground between my feet constantly sliding in and out of focus. I ignored the potentially aching sensation, my mind not seeing what was in front of me any way; it was too focused on the past.
~Am I sure I want to walk this path any more?~
I had always maintained that I didn't need any help from any one. Even when I came here, either they taught me or they could get lost. Yet I had commanded Orochimaru to train me, it was still help despite the form it was given. After our fight at the Valley, there were so many options still open to me that I could have taken, without taking the most painful one to Naruto. But I stubbornly stayed narrow minded, clinging to the reasoning I had pinned before leaving with the Sound Four and abandoning Konoha.
My thoughts wandered briefly into familiar icy territory.
~Those pathetic excuses for shinobi couldn't even survive an encounter with Hidden Leaf Genin.~
But a nagging tug at my heart returned me to my confused melancholic state, insistently asking me why did I let Naruto live. If the question had been asked at that time I might have answered; I refused to gain power through his means, the shortcut to Mangekyou Sharingan. But now, now I know I would not - could not - willingly give my self to Orochimaru, was that the only reason I did not kill him.
The blonde had fought with a passion not heated by hate, but he had stood on a level equal to me, who had been driven by single-minded revenge. That power he had had been incredible, just by excessively training and not giving up he had accumulated such strength. I had just relied on the cursed Heaven seal and was nearly defeated.
~Naruto was right, I am the idiot.~
He had always cared for me despite the constant hostility and bickering, he had always tried to save me no matter the situation. Heck I had craved for those moments where some one wasn't spouting those hollow words of affection because I was a genius. I did not want to be marred with the same brush of the twisted, murdering Uchiha prodigy Itachi.
I tried to smile at the amusing fights I knew we had had but my lips couldn't bring them selves to twitch. I tried to picture those memories, but I couldn't see past their fuzziness. I finally realised that they had started to fade and an indescribable desire to see his cheerful face again rose up inside of me. My eyes screwed shut against the dull ache in my heart and I felt my teeth clench together, paining my jaw. Even the recent dreams I had of him, so clear when dreamt, were just snatches of unrecognisable blurred features now. My throat constricted, choking short a low moan.
His once incessant voice reverberated in my brain as another unbidden memory resurfaced from the hole where I thought I had buried them undeniably.
"Why did you save me!?"
"How should I know? I hated you."
"But why?.! Why? Why me? I never asked for your help!"
"I don't know. My body just moved on its own, idiot."
Naruto had given me a reason to live, to really live; not just survive for the sake of revenge. I could forget the pain of loneliness when he challenged me, fought me until we were both exhausted. I used to smile, albeit in secret, and was able to have fun around him, which included teasing the blonde no end. Naruto had eventually come to be the light in the half of my life that was not torn in the darkness.
A single, unexplainable tear traced a delicate path down the side of my smooth cheek to find a new home in the black threads of my shirt.
~Did I really hate him so much that I convinced my self to leave?~
A/N : This is the first thing I've written in first person that I like. I would have done a little more but once I got to the last question I couldn't bring myself to do it. It's such a Sasuke-like ending. Oh and has any one spotted the hidden message? If you have, please tell me so I know whether my subconscious subtly worked. If not you'll just have to go back and look. XD
Comments and Reviews are really appreciated.