The Long Run

BY : Sasunarufan13
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 1092
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor make profit of it. Kishimoto owns it.

Author's note: I had wanted to get some other updates ready, but my mind isn't in the right headspace for those yet. This week has been utter and complete shit to the point where I don't know what the hell I'm going to do anymore. University is fucking me over with both my bachelor and master degree and I've had it up to here with their utter bullshit. So I apologise, but the other updates might take a while because I can't get myself in the correct mindset for those yet. Maybe I can finish something this weekend, but I don't dare to promise anything.

In an attempt to distract myself from the utter shitfest that is my life currently, I've started working on this: something I've had filed for a little while yet and well, given my dark headspace at the moment, I figured this would be the best idea to work on. If this is not your cup of tea, that's fine. I just needed to escape for a little while.

Warnings: Sasuke's pov; Alternate universe; zombies; past character deaths; reference to past rape attempt; dark

I hope you'll like this first chapter.


Chapter 1

Howling wind was what woke him up this time; the noise vicious enough it jerked him right out of his sleep. Furrowing his eyebrows, he sat up, listening to the wind almost screaming around the house. He slipped out of the bed, quietly making his way over to the window.

Dawn was just approaching, the midnight sky lightening up with just the faintest streaks of pink. As he stood there listening to the wind, the first raindrops splattered apart against the window, making him purse his lips. The rain was welcome, no doubt, but the sound of the storm might disguise other noises until it was too late. Such a paradox: they needed the rain, yet at the same time that might land them in some serious shit too.

The gates should hold, though. He chanced a glance at them; the fortified wall standing like a looming shadow to his left. When he squinted, he could see some people meandering around on top of it, slowly trekking from one side to the other, keeping watch.

He stepped away, dropping the curtain, and grabbed a new change of clothes; wrinkling his nose when he caught sight of the laundry basket next to the chair. Shit, he still needed to wash them. Or perhaps just make it easy for himself and throw them away, he figured, grimacing at the filth caked to the shirt and the upper part of his trousers. Even three years later, there was no getting used to the stench or the accompanying filth. Not much anyway.

His brother greeted him when he walked into the kitchen. The older man sat in his usual seat, eating some scrambled eggs. His mug with tea had already cooled off, judging by the lack of steam wafting from it.

"Where's father?" he asked, trying to decide whether he should make some eggs too or just keep it simple with some toast.

"Taking inventory with Inoichi-san," Itachi replied. "Figuring out which supplies are needed for the next run."

Sasuke nodded, settling for some toast. "How was the shift last night?"

Itachi shrugged and leant back in the chair, popping his back with a soft groan. "Quiet for the most part," he told him. "Only a couple of them strayed near the walls, but Suigetsu-san got rid of them quickly. With the storm, though …" He looked thoughtfully out of the window. "More might show up if we're unlucky."

"Maybe," Sasuke agreed, remembering the last vicious storm they had endured. The clean-up had taken nearly an entire week back then.

"You're on for the next shift, aren't you?" Itachi tilted his head to the left.

"Yeah, in fifteen minutes," the younger man nodded. "You got any plans for today?"

"Stopping by the infirmary, see how Kisame is holding up," Itachi admitted, refilling his mug. "After that, I'm back to instructing the younger ones how to handle daggers and spears."

Sasuke smirked, swiping his brother's mug to steal some sips. "Better you than me."

Itachi rolled his eyes. "It's not as bad as you think it is, otouto."

"Hm, doesn't mean I want to get my patience tested," Sasuke murmured and stood up. "See you tonight then?"

"Yeah, have a safe watch."


Ino was already there when he made his way up the scaffold, his boots thumping quietly on the metal when he stepped onto the wall. The rain was not yet pouring down, but it would be soon, going by how dark the clouds were. The sound of the drops on the makeshift roof above them would be soothing if they didn't have to keep their wits about them.

She smiled when he came to stand next to her, a couple of feet between them. "Good morning," she said softly. Her long blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail like it always was; her sideswept bang clipped to the side for once. Her gun was strapped to her hip; her bow resting in front of her, ready to be drawn in a second.

"Morning," he grunted and squinted when he looked over the wall, taking in the seemingly endless stretch of fields and trees; one lonely road the only way to their compound. "Anything amiss?"

"Nothing so far," she informed him and sighed. "I'm hoping for a quiet day."

"Don't we all?" he muttered darkly and rested his hand briefly on his own gun.

Quiet days had become far and in between ever since the Rising as people had come to call it. The day when humans no longer ruled the world, forced to search and even fight for the ever steadily dwindling amount of supplies. Food, fluids, medicine, weapons … Even goddamn clothes had become more valuable than ever.

Sasuke knew he should count himself lucky. Lucky that his father had been one of the first to hear about the news, allowing the man to turn their family compound in a certified fort almost. The walls surrounding their houses were made even higher, fortified with metal and brick. Watch towers in every direction, even one in the east where nothing but a large forest took up the land. Weapons, from the simplest knife to the most sophisticated machine guns were hoarded, safely stored away together with the necessary ammo. Guns were their last option, though. The noise would attract them too much, so instead people learnt to fight with daggers, with spears, swords, even a crossbow. The crossbow was the best weapon; allowing kills at a safe distance. The downside was having to retrieve every arrow or be forced to make them again and again; the latter not exactly recommendable when supplies were in a decline.

Guns also allowed firing from a safe distance, but they were loud, not enough silencers around anymore, and so they made do with sharp blades. Blades were quiet, quick, easier to stab with instead of wasting time to reload or aim. It brought them close to them, however, too close at times. One second too slow, one wrong move, one time misjudging the distance and it was over. No matter the weapon, no matter what they did, they were screwed. Damned if they did, damned if they didn't.

Still they made it work, his family. They carved out some fields to grow vegetables and even some fruit; gathered livestock whenever they found them wandering about. They decided on supply runs every week if possible, trying to gather as much as they could find. It didn't matter anymore what it was; even something as simple as a damn handkerchief was welcomed nowadays. Anything to keep the place running; anything to keep them alive.

As the world turned to shit completely, more people started showing up, either on the run for an enemy – could be other humans, could be them – or stumbling upon the compound by happenstance. If they checked out, they were welcome to stay. If they didn't, they were sent on their way again – forcefully if need be. There was no room for error anymore nowadays, no reason to keep people when they would only be trouble in the end.

Survival was what mattered the most, even if it meant turning off one's own humanity.

"Got one stumbling his way over here," Ino remarked and paused, pursing her lips in a mirthless smile. "Or her, can't really tell anymore. This one might have been around since the start."

Sasuke looked in the direction she was gazing and yeah, there was a dead person shambling along the cracked road. Blue shirt torn to pieces, jeans ripped and frayed and only one arm left, dangling by the last muscle threads. Its skin so taut; all the moisture having disappeared a long time ago. Its face looked gnawed on, pieces missing from its cheeks and chin and it was leaning to the side, shuffling and moaning like they all did.

Zombies, walkers, the dead, the Returned, whatever people wanted to call them. One day three years ago they had started roaming around and hadn't stopped since. It was like something out of a comic book or out of a B grade horror movie, but it was their lives now. The army had tried to get rid of them, but for every dead person they got rid of, another one popped up like the goddamn plague was back, spreading its ugly disease. You got bit, you were dead, simple as that. Well, dead and roaming until you got your head caved in or shot through that was.

The army had fallen after people turned to zombies there and not long after that the government had collapsed, followed by the fall of society as a whole. Nowadays it was everybody for themselves; eat or be eaten. Kill or be killed. People hiding behind fortified walls, trying to keep themselves alive by growing their own food. Back to candles when one day the electricity went down, never to return. Their last generator had fucked off to hell around a year ago.

"It's like we reverted back to living in the Middle Ages," Shikamaru had smiled cynically; the bags underneath his eyes deep as he tried to figure out ways to enforce the walls, ways to keep everyone alive and well and not torn apart by zombies or murdered by callous human beings.

The Middle Ages didn't have zombies, though. It didn't have the dead walking the earth, pushing the humans of their spot as the strongest ruler.

"They get uglier every day," Ino commented idly. "You going on a supply run this week?"

"Yeah, together with Shikamaru and Karin," Sasuke confirmed. They both kept their eyes on the zombie, waiting to see how close it would get. Some of them would turn around on their own, drawn by other sounds. Others would walk straight into the traps they had placed around the compound, spikes and barbed wire keeping the bastards stuck in place until one of them would go around and finish them off for good. Yet others would come close enough to walls, forcing them to go out and get rid of them before they would draw others with their raspy groaning and gravel moaning.

If Sasuke would ever forget their horrible noises, it wouldn't be a day too soon.

"Why, you need anything in particular?" he asked, leaning with his elbows on the wall. The wind sent the rain into his face and he blinked, wiping his sleeve across his face quickly.

"Nah." She shrugged and licked her lips then, huffing. "Well, I wouldn't say no to some goddamn makeup, though. It'd be nice to not look like one of the living dead myself for once."

"You don't look that horrible," he smiled faintly. "I've seen worse for sure."

"Coming from you that's quite the endorsement, thanks," she snorted. "Still would like some actual makeup for once. Crushed flowers just don't do much for me. Not saying you've got to go out of your way, but," she shrugged, "if you happen to spot something, anything, you'd make this girl really happy is all I'm saying. Hell, at this point I'd be glad with a simple gloss, my god."

"The lack of makeup getting to you more than the stench of death, huh?" he said dryly.

"There's only so much I can stare at my – wait, what's that?" In a flash she had binoculars out, aiming it towards their right.

Sasuke narrowed his eyes, spotting something – someone – moving in their direction. The person was still too far away to see if it was dead or not; the dark sky not exactly working in their favour. They couldn't turn on the spots, though. Both noise and light seemed to be triggers for the dead fuckers.

"Looks human," Ino murmured and handed over the binoculars to him, her hand dropping down to her bow.

Sasuke took them over and looked through them, humming when he caught a better sight of the person. Definitely someone alive and male from the looks of it. He wasn't stumbling and bumbling in that peculiar way the undead had, striding faster than them as well. His hair was a rusty brown colour, but Sasuke couldn't tell whether that was the actual hair colour or whether that was just a mix of blood and accumulated dirt from being on the road for too long. His slim jeans were ripped around the knees, fraying at the edges and he was carrying a simply black backpack slung over his right shoulder. He held his head down, not allowing Sasuke to get a good look of his face, and the dark haired man bit down on his lip.

"What do you want to do?" Ino asked quietly, coming to stand next to him. She was tense; an arrow already held loosely in her left hand.

"Go get my father," he instructed, still looking through the binoculars, watching the unknown man getting closer and closer. "He's doing the inventory now."

She nodded once and ran off, smoothly descending the scaffold before she rushed to the other end of what they had dubbed the main street.

As Sasuke stood there, awaiting her and father's return, he kept his focus on the man, checking his surroundings. He appeared to be completely alone, which while that not weird was somewhat surprising as well. Most people nowadays travelled around in groups of two at least. It was safer than having to tackle the dead all on your own, especially if you happened to come across a group of those dead fuckers. This guy seemed to be travelling on his own, though. It might be a trap, but they had people checking the perimeter outside every day; if a group had been holing up between the trees, one of them would have found someone by now.

The man was now close enough that Sasuke could spot a dagger strapped to his thigh and when the wind drove the sides of his jackets aside, he caught sight of a bloody machete as well. His bag might contain even more weapons.

Sasuke pressed his lips together, wondering what he should do. The guy was now close towards the zombie and without breaking his stride, he simply grabbed his dagger and drove it straight into the zombie's head before swiftly removing it and continuing his way. Just like that, stab, eyes on the ground, not even looking up. As if it was as easy as putting something back on the shelf.

The zombie crumpled to the ground like a card house, twitching for a couple of seconds before it finally fell silent for the last time.

"Newcomer?" Father demanded in a low voice; his sharp gaze instantly landing on the guy.

Ino hurried to take her place on Sasuke's other side, narrowing her eyes when she spotted the dead zombie and the guy flicking off the gore from his dagger before strapping it back to his thigh.

"Hm, never seen him around before," Sasuke answered, lowering the binoculars. "What do you want to do?"

Ever since the Rising father had become their de facto leader. While he did not have complete control over deciding who could stay and who couldn't, people considered his decision to be the final say. Especially after the time Kabuto had insisted on vouching for some guy he'd met on the road. One week later had seen the compound attacked by a group and nearly overrun by zombies before they had managed to kill them all. They had lost Obito, Ibiki and … mother.

Since then people deferred to father's judgement when it came to allowing new people inside the compound.

"Let him in," Father decided when the guy was halfway across the road. "We'll let Itachi interrogate him. Depending on his answers, we'll allow him to stay for a while."

The guy finally looked up when he was less than five metres away from the gate. He lifted his head, staring up at them with a hand shielding his eyes against the rain. They were blue, a non-sensical part of Sasuke noticed. A deep blue; they'd be pretty if they weren't filled with so much cynicism.

"You going to let me in or are you going to shoot me? Make up your mind; I don't have all day."

Ino snorted as she signed to one of the guards below them to lift the gate. "He's a sunshine, that one."


"What's your name?"

From behind the glass Sasuke watched his brother interrogate the new arrival, calm as ever. Thanks to Itachi's bullshit radar – though he would never call it like that, insisting he just knew how to read people well – they would figure out pretty soon whether this guy could be trusted or not.

"Naruto," the guy said shortly. He was sitting slouched in his chair, but his eyes were sharp; his gaze flitting back and forth between the door, the sole window and Itachi every fifteen seconds.

Living in the kind of world they lived in now honed everyone's senses, made them acutely aware of danger. Sasuke couldn't fault him for keeping his eye on possible escape routes. It was what he did every time he entered a new place after all.

"You got a last name?" Itachi asked mildly.

Naruto snorted. "Does that matter still? World's gone to shit; last names won't do much anymore."

Not exactly cooperative.

"How long have you been on the road for?"

"Man, I don't know," Naruto sighed loudly. "Days and nights kinda blend together once you're travelling for a while. Wouldn't even be able to tell you which month it is."

"It's October," Itachi said.

"Well, that explains the shit weather," Naruto muttered, frowning up at the ceiling.

"Are you travelling alone?"

"Did you see anyone with me?" Naruto smiled thinly. "Don't think you're that old yet for your eyesight to be that fucked."

Itachi didn't let that ruffle him. It was why he had been appointed to speak to the new arrivals and not someone like Deidara, who had a bit of an explosive temper to start with and would have been brawling with the guy already by now.

"Are you travelling alone?" he merely repeated.

"Yeah, I am."

"Have you travelled with people before?"

"What's this, twenty questions?" Naruto complained, scowling.

Father entered the small room, coming to stand next to Sasuke. "Going well?"

"As well as can be expected," Sasuke murmured.

"Yeah, I've travelled with people before," Naruto huffed when it became clear that Itachi would keep sitting there, awaiting his answer. Itachi had an infinite amount of patience like that.

"Who? What happened to them?"

"What do you think happened, you dick?" Naruto asked sarcastically, his scowl deepening. "Mum and dad got eaten, best friend died and got eaten as well. Been on my own since."

Itachi was quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry," he spoke sincerely.

The other man shrugged stiffly and glanced away. "Whatever, 's how life goes nowadays."

"How many zombies have you killed?"

Itachi's abrupt question had Naruto staring at him like he was a lunatic. "I don't know, man, I didn't exactly keep count," he sighed exasperatedly, running his hands through his hair.

Sasuke thought he could spot some blond roots; definitely filthy with gore and dirt then.

"Probably more than sixty by now, the fuckers just keep coming."

Itachi nodded. "How many humans have you killed and why?"

That question had Naruto stilling completely; his face darkening, eyes shuttering close. "Why do you need to know?" he asked clipped.

"Well, I think you can imagine we wouldn't be keen on having a serial killer living amongst us," Itachi said, spreading out his hands and shrugging.

Naruto stared at him for a while before he snorted harshly and kicked back in his chair, crossing his arms. He stared at the ceiling when he replied, "Three men."

"Why?"

"Well, as it turns out, the dead roaming around doesn't make the living intend on being decent humans anymore," he smiled humourlessly. "Met a girl in a town a while back and we both got captured by three fucktards. They figured they could get their rocks off with her."

His face darkened even further. "They weren't particularly interested in being denied. She killed herself before they could touch her. Shot herself straight through the head. Turned out these guys had no problem raping a girl, but at least they drew the line at necrophilia so there's that! Instead they decided that I would make for a nice substitution, I guess."

He shifted, the dark look on his face making way for one of utter exhaustion. Something in Sasuke's chest twinged. "Slit their fucking throats before they could try anything. Got out of there as soon as I could and have been on my own since. So there you have it." He spread out his arms, a cynical smile twisting his face. "Killed three men, but I don't consider them a huge loss to be honest. Don't feel guilty or sorry about that shit at all; they had it coming. Do with that what you want."

"Thoughts?" Sasuke asked, watching as Itachi questioned Naruto about his life before the Rising.

Father crossed his arms, looking thoughtfully. "Doesn't strike me as a bad guy. He got dealt a shitty hand and made the best of it. Killing three people in self-defence isn't the same as just killing them on a whim."

Sasuke nodded slowly, staring at the guy. He didn't seem to be lying about the deaths either; nobody could look that weary, that dark, that lost by simply acting.


"I think he would be a decent addition," Itachi announced, joining Sasuke, father and Shikamaru in the small office next to the interrogation room. "A bit rough around the edges, but nothing that'd be cause for concern."

Sasuke snorted quietly, shaking his head lightly. Only Itachi could call rudeness "rough around the edges".

"You know anything about what he did before all this?" Shikamaru asked, leaning his hip against the table.

"He was still a student back then, but he learnt to tinker with bikes and cars with his best friend," Itachi said, rolling his shoulders briefly. "If what he said about the amount of walkers he killed, is true then he's a good fighter as well. He has to be, for having survived so long on his own."

"How long has he been on his own?" Father asked; a note of concern creeping into his voice.

Sasuke grimaced, rubbing the back of his neck. It wasn't so much concern for Naruto as for their little community. Being alone on the road, surrounded by the dead for days on end could do weird things to one's mind. He wouldn't be the first to be driven utterly insane, snapping when it all became too much.

People driven to their limits were even more dangerous than an entire herd of zombies could be.

"He couldn't tell me." Itachi shook his head. "He lost track of it a while back, but based on what he's told me, I'd say he's been on his own for at least more than a year by now."

"But he's safe?"

"Safe enough," Itachi replied. "I don't think he'll try anything or is planning anything."

"How did he find us?" Shikamaru questioned, frowning.

"Said he just kept going in a straight line when he realised that the towns up north didn't yield anything anymore. Looks to me like he found us thanks to sheer dumb luck."

"There's nothing left up north?" Sasuke frowned. Shit, that would mean they would have to adjust the route for their run the day after tomorrow.

"Not according to him at least. I don't see why he would lie about that," Itachi replied. "If there was anything out there, he'd be bunking down there instead of wandering around."

"We can make this week his trial," Father suggested, resting his hands on the desk where the map was still spread out from Sasuke's meeting with Shikamaru and Karin three days ago. "See how he adjusts. Depending on what he does, he can stay for longer."

He looked around at them with a raised eyebrow. "What do you think?"

"Sounds good to me." Sasuke shrugged. If the guy stepped one toe out of line, he'd find that a katana was equally as good at dispatching humans as it was at dispatching zombies.

After Itachi and Shikamaru had nodded their consent as well, father dipped his head in a decisive nod. "All right, let's go welcome him officially then. He can take one of the apartments in block A. He'd probably appreciate a shower now."


AN2: This isn't going to be terribly long, maybe four chapters at best depending on how long they turn out to be. At least if there's any interest for this? I know it's not exactly Halloween, but eh *shrugs* Let me know if it's worth continuing or not. I'll try to work on some other updates in the meantime.

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 the next chapter! Please stay safe and take care of yourselves!

Cuddles

Melissa



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story