Will You Stay?

BY : Sasunarufan13
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 580
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor make profit of it. Kishimoto owns it.

Author's note: Today is none other than our resident Uchiha's birthday and what better way to celebrate Sasuke's birthday than to give him the ending he deserves to have? :D (Yes, even after six years I'm still quite bitter about it, let's move along, shall we?) (I wonder if this will become another tradition of mine, celebrating Sasuke's birthday every year, we shall see)

Warnings: Sasuke's pov; canon compliant up until chapter 699; slash; fluff; references to the mass murder of the Uchiha; oh and Neji lives so not entirely canon compliant I suppose (righting the wrongs here, see? LMAO)

I hope you'll like this!

Will You Stay?

The guard practically slammed his katana and his bag on the table and strode away, back ramrod straight. Clearly he didn't agree with the order that the prisoner should be released.

Sasuke snorted and rotated the wrist of his one remaining arm, staring down it thoughtfully for a moment. It was going to take some time to get used to doing everything with only one arm now, but he would manage. He had done much harder things than simply getting used to missing one arm – or at least part of it.

He was strapping on his sword when Kakashi entered the room, surprisingly without any guards.

"They're letting the Hokage talk to a dangerous criminal without any guards present? My, Konoha is slipping," Sasuke murmured, opening the flap of his bag to check the content.

Kakashi rolled his eyes, coming to a halt on the other side of the table. "Naruto was pretty clear about how you should be considered when arguing your case and 'dangerous criminal' wasn't it."

The dark haired man just grunted. He knew Naruto had advocated on his behalf, but he doubted the blond man had been really able to change the council's opinion about him. That seemed impossible even for the Jinchuuriki. Whatever he had said, though, it had made enough of an impression that Sasuke could finally leave the prison after nearly two months of being locked up and blindfolded.

"We had to eventually shut him up before he would land himself in the cell next to yours," Kakashi continued and while his tone was dry, he wore a frown.

"I doubt they would have been able to keep him long," Sasuke said idly, closing his bag. He'd put his kunai and shuriken away later.

"That's your reaction to hearing your best friend risked his own freedom by advocating for yours?" Kakashi raised an eyebrow, appearing unimpressed.

The dark haired man bared his teeth in a simile of a smile. "I never told him to go that far, so don't push his stupidity on me."

Kakashi sighed and shook his head wearily. "I don't think I'll ever understand the two of you," he muttered, seemingly more to himself. "What are you going to do now?"

"If that's your way of asking whether I'll be back to working as a shinobi for this village, you can save your breath," Sasuke said and swung his bag over his shoulder. "I promised to help Naruto, not the lot of you. I honestly really don't care what happens to this village."

It could burn down to the ground for all he cared. The only reason he wasn't still seeking retaliation for his family was because of Naruto. A part of him hoped they realised that their fate was being kept safe by the very man they had spat out and taunted for years.

"Can't really blame you," Kakashi grimaced and rubbed the back of his neck. "What are you going to do then? Rebuild the compound?"

"What makes you think I'm staying here?" Sasuke raised an eyebrow.

The other man blinked, taken off guard. "Where are you going to go then?"

"Don't know yet." Sasuke shrugged and went around the table, going to the door. "All I know is that I'm not interested in staying here. I've got time to figure out what I'll do now that I'm no longer locked up."

"Well, just know that you're always welcome to stay here," Kakashi said.

Grabbing the doorknob and twisting it to the right, Sasuke couldn't help but snort. "Somehow I very much doubt a lot of people share that opinion of yours."

He left the room before his former sensei could say anything else.

He was making his way to the other end of the village, figuring he would make one last stop at the Uchiha compound to see if he could salvage anything before he left, when Sakura fell into step with him. He masked a sigh and reminded himself that she had been there to help both him and Naruto after they had nearly killed each other at the Valley of the End.

"I'm glad to see they finally let you go, Sasuke-kun," she smiled, stuffing her hands in the pockets of her jacket. Already a blush was creeping up her cheeks, dusting them the same colour as her hair. "They should have never put you in there to begin with."

Is that why you never came by to visit? was what he wanted to ask, but he held his tongue, deciding that he wasn't interested in the answer. She might take it the wrong way and he didn't want to encourage whatever naïve ideas she still held about the both of them.

It wasn't like he had ever expected her to visit anyway. She'd been clear in the past about what she had thought about his decisions, so it hadn't shocked him in the slightest when she had never shown up. He doubted she would have had a lot of opportunity to chat either way, given how much Naruto had run off his mouth whenever he'd visited him in the cell – which had been nearly every day.

He'd been there so much and for so long that one of the guards had ended up asking sarcastically whether he would like to have a sleepover too. That man really should have known better than to expect the Jinchuuriki to pick up on the sarcasm. Naruto had enthusiastically agreed until Sasuke had kicked his leg and informed the idiot that the guard had been sarcastic.

Honestly sometimes he really wondered how the hell that usuratonkachi had made it this far in life.

"I was thinking that now you're out of prison we could organise a small get together with the rest of our friends," she chattered, waving at a couple of people in passing by. "Nothing too outrageous," she hastened to add, "but we could go out to eat Korean barbeque. Everyone's home, so we can gather the group and - "

"I'm not staying," he said brusquely, cutting her off before she could continue rambling on. "I'm just going to check what I can take with me and then I'll leave."

"Leave?" she repeated confused and actually halted in the middle of the street.

When he kept walking, she hurried to catch up with him. "What do you mean, leave?" she asked worriedly. "They completely exonerated you, so there's no need for you to leave."

"I'm leaving because I don't want to stay here. I'm not interested in spending the rest of my life here; why would you even think I would want that?" he asked, doing his best to push down his irritation.

He was getting an awful sense of déjà vu, however, and he didn't feel like having the same conversation with Sakura over and over again. Surely she should have understood all his hints by now? He hadn't exactly been that subtle with the genjutsu he had put her in right before fighting with Naruto.

"Well, I suppose staying here would be awkward at times," she laughed jittery, linking her fingers together.

He could feel her eyes almost burning a hole in the side of his face when she shyly suggested, "I could join you if you want? I'm sure my parents won't - "

"No," he cut her off abruptly and realising he sounded quite rude, he softened his voice a tad, "I need to do this on my own. I need to figure out what I want to do with my life now and that's not a burden you can share."

"Oh." She deflated, looking visibly disappointed, but he didn't budge.

He had no desire whatsoever to have her join him on his journey, especially not when that would only give her the wrong idea about them. Perhaps now she would finally understand that he would never be able to return her feelings.

She left soon afterwards, taking a right turn where he turned left, waving at him and looking uncomfortably close to crying. He sighed, resting his remaining hand in his pocket. It was better this way; otherwise she would keep clinging to her dream image of them together and he didn't know how much clearer he could be that that particular dream of hers would never become true.

He ignored the heavy stares he garnered on his way to the old Uchiha compound and paid no mind to the non-too subtle whispering that accompanied them. Let them gossip if they wanted to; he wasn't planning on staying for too much longer and as long as they didn't attempt to attack him, he didn't care.

The sight of the deteriorating buildings which once upon a time had formed the formidable Uchiha compound had him pausing for just a moment, staring at the vine covered entrance. Large cracks ran throughout the entirety of the walls surrounding the place; it wouldn't take that much longer before the walls would completely crumble. The weed was so badly overgrown that it covered most of the paths from view, making him rely on his memory to find his way around.

The roof of his old home looked on the verge of collapsing and he grimaced, hoping it wouldn't cave in when he was inside. He ignored the large room in which his parents had been killed and made a beeline for his former bedroom; the stale scent of the long abandoned rooms heavy in the air.

He wouldn't take any of the clothes as he had outgrown those years ago, but he did collect the rest of the weapons he'd left behind when he joined Orochimaru and shifted through his collection of scrolls to decide which ones he would be taking with him as well.

The presence of an unexpected visitor had him looking away from one of the scrolls and he raised an eyebrow. "I never thought I would see you here," he remarked, putting the scroll in his bag.

Neji shrugged almost lazily; his shoulder braced against the cracked doorjamb. He was carrying a cane, but he looked a lot better than when Sasuke had last seen him on the battlefield.

"A little birdie told me you were leaving for good," Neji murmured; his pale lavender eyes sharp in the weak daylight.

Dark eyes rolled in exasperation. "She couldn't even keep quiet for an hour?"

"She ran into me and Hinata when we left the hospital and burst out in tears immediately," Neji replied disinterestedly. "You really hurt her feelings apparently."

"She'll get over it," Sasuke muttered. It wasn't like they had been that close to start with.

"So you're really leaving, hm?" Neji eyed his bag contemplatively. "Not sticking around at all?"

"Why would I stick around in a place where my family was murdered?" Sasuke smiled thinly and rose up, closing the clasp of his bag. "I'm not masochistic, sorry."

"I'm surprised Konoha is just going to let you go like that."

"I don't think Konoha would want me around," Sasuke snorted and heaved the bag over his shoulder. "Pretty certain they would have been happier to let me rot away in prison."

"Except they hadn't counted on Naruto advocating on your behalf." Neji's gaze sharpened just a tad.

Sasuke uttered an impatient noise. "Is there an actual reason why you're here? No offence, but it's not like we were best friends."

"That's a duty and a title I gladly leave up to Naruto," Neji said amused. "I don't have the infinite patience he possesses to deal with you."

"Which makes it all the more curious that you're here."

Neji rolled his shoulders and pursed his lips slightly. "I guess I just wanted to see with my own eyes that you are indeed leaving. Seems like an odd decision after Naruto chased you down for all these years."

"I never told him to do that," Sasuke smiled thinly, his fingers tightening around the strap of his bag.

"True," Neji acquiesced. "You're really not staying?"

"No, save your breath, no matter what you say, I'm leaving," Sasuke said curtly. "If Sakura and Kakashi couldn't convince me to stay, you certainly won't."

That made the other man laugh instead of being offended. "Just as I don't possess his patience, I also don't possess Naruto's optimism to sway you in changing your mind. I guess this is our goodbye then. I wish you luck on your journey."

"Thanks." Sasuke eyed him carefully and then nodded at the cane. "Have a safe recovery."

Neji dipped his head in acknowledgement and that was that.

He wasn't surprised when upon leaving the gates, he spotted blond hair a bit further in the distance, the owner of it casually leaning against a tree.

"I thought I would see you here," Sasuke greeted him, coming to a stop in front of him.

Naruto grinned at him; the empty sleeve of his right arm swaying in the light breeze. "Couldn't let you leave without saying goodbye first, no?" he remarked lightly. Blue eyes focused on the bag for a moment. "You got everything you need?"

"Yeah, everything that was salvageable at least," Sasuke admitted and tilted his head slightly to the left.

"Well then, do me a favour and stay safe on your journey, all right, bastard?" Naruto smiled, making an abortive movement as if to cross his hands behind his head before realising he only had one left. "And send a note once in a while so we know you're still alive."

Black eyes slowly blinked. "You're not going to try to convince me to stay?"

Naruto blinked, appearing a bit taken aback. "No, why would I? You want this journey and frankly I don't expect you to want to stay in Konoha. Not after what happened to your family and Itachi." He grimaced and looked away, a tad chagrined. "I'd be a shit friend if I forced you to stay. Just don't forget about us, okay?" He laughed softly.

Sasuke could only stare at him, at the man who had risked everything including his own life to bring him back. The only one who had been at his side since the beginning and had refused to leave it even when the rest of the world had turned its back on him, ready to condemn him.

His best friend who had lost his arm in their battle and yet could still stand in front of him and laugh, as if nothing out of the ordinary had ever happened.

The man who had risked his entire future career by coming to Sasuke's defence against the Council, by insisting Sasuke should be set free.

One of the very few people who had ever cared about Sasuke himself and not about what he was or what he could be to them.

The only one who understood why Sasuke needed to leave, why he couldn't stay in a place soaked with his clan's blood. A village where his brother was still registered as a traitor and not as the hero he had been all along.

The only one who wasn't trying to make him stay when he had every right to want that. When he, as the only one, had reason and the right to demand Sasuke stay after all.

Naruto was letting him go because he understood.

And that changed everything.

"Will you join me?" Sasuke asked.

Naruto gaped at him, looking utterly befuddled. "Erm, what? You want me to what?"

"I want you to join me," Sasuke clarified; his hand hanging relaxed at his side. "Be with me on my journey."

"I thought you wanted to be alone on your journey," the blond commented carefully. "You wanted to figure out what to do next, no?"

Sasuke smirked. "I think we can both agree that my decision taking skills leave somewhat to be desired at times," he drawled; his smile deepening when Naruto threw his head back and laughed. "I think it would be in my best interest if you would join me, to keep me from making stupid mistakes."

"In your best interest, hm?" Naruto gazed at him with glittering eyes. "Well, I do have your best interest at heart at all times, that's for sure."

Sasuke found himself suddenly a lot closer to the other man. "Well, you would be rather remiss if you didn't join me, you know," he murmured.

"That's true," Naruto hummed; his warm breath caressing Sasuke's cheek. "Where would we go then?"

A thrill went through Sasuke at the 'we' leaving Naruto's lips. "Wherever we want," he said; his gaze holding blue eyes. "It's our journey, we decide."

"I do like the sound of that," Naruto whispered.

Either Naruto moved first or he did. The who didn't matter. What did, was soft lips pliant against his own; a warm hand curling around his.

What mattered was blue eyes shining brightly when their mouths parted slowly and an even brighter grin curling those kissed lips.

What mattered was them together.

The rest, they had all the time to figure out later.

They had each other and that would always be enough.

The End

AN2: Am I ever going to get over the ending and stop being bitter about it? Eh, probably not. But that's why we have fanfiction!

I hope you enjoyed this fic :) Please leave your thoughts behind in a review; should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me.

I hope to see you all back in my future stories! Please stay safe and take care of yourselves!



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