Chapter 1: Behind Closed Doors
Welcome back, new and old readers! I can finally present this collaboration Fic - that originally started out as a roleplay but turned into a full-fledged fanfic.
This fic is a collaboration between me (Crystallinee) and roleplay partner of mine, Noah.
Rated M for lemons/smut in later chapters. There will also be lot of angst, love and fluff.
Many thanks to our amazing beta reader Mza418 - May.
Chapter 1: Behind Closed Doors
It's easier to run Replacing this pain with something numb It's so much easier to go Than face all this pain here all alone
The dull, grey light from the windows woke Sasuke up, and he realized that he must have fallen asleep at some point during the early morning hours.
He let out a slight groan as his head spun with tiredness. He had stopped looking for the closeness, the warmness that used to be right by his side. A face against his own, hands intertwined. Now there were only locked doors, silence, and repressed anger. He was alone, with all the responsibility.
He rose from the couch where he had ungracefully dozed off, feeling his messy hair point in all directions. A new day had begun; the world outside was starting to spin in its endless tracks.
But it didn't stop for anyone. He got up and went to the kitchen, where he started preparing tea, breakfast, and milk in the usual feeding bottle. He did everything automatically, without thinking or feeling. It wasn't because of the fact that he hardly got any sleep at night – who can, with a newborn? – or the waves of angst and happiness that switched so quickly. It was the loneliness, the empty room of someone who was once there, and it was getting harder each day.
He wasn't supposed to end up just like his mother, a mere sacrifice.
From the blankets on the couch, a familiar yelp and a little squeal was heard, followed by a rising cry. Sighing, Sasuke walked over and picked the baby up, resting the little head on his shoulder as he continued preparing the milk.
"There there, little one. Tired, huh?"
But his stomach clenched angrily when he saw the firmly locked door across the room. Pain and anger ripped at his insides, the helplessness overwhelming him. Shisui started to whine, his chubby baby hands patting Sasuke's shoulder.
"Missing daddy, huh? Still, he hasn't even bothered to look at you once."
He put his son on the couch again and started to feed him, mostly to make him calm down. I miss him too, Sasuke thought.
Forcing himself to prepare the usual tray of food – only simple green tea and some pieces of bread – he walked over to the door and put it down on the floor. He didn't even bother to say anything, knowing that he would not get a reply.
He returned to the couch with the small child in his arms. Despite having Shisui in his arms, he felt so awfully lonely. He rocked him gently and cooed soothingly at him to stop him from whimpering. He could already tell by now that he looked a lot like his lover, Itachi. He was a true beauty and when he grew older, he'd probably be quite popular.
After a little while, he placed Shisui in his crib and made his way into the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee. He was so tired, and it was obvious. He had bags underneath his eyes, and his otherwise so perfect skin looked red and annoyed. He had also gotten a whole lot skinnier.
On the other side of the door, a shadow of a person was hiding. Hiding from himself, more than anyone else. He couldn't stand to see his own reflection in the mirror. From the endless hours he had spent slumped on the floor or lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, he was hardly aware of time passing by anymore.
This was such a lonely place. He thought he'd never fall down again, but without any warning, he had sunk to the absolute bottom. Meaningless. Emotionless. Emptiness. The voice in the back of his mind was his worst enemy, like a black fog covering all happy memories and joyful feelings. What was left, honestly?
Sasuke may have thought that Itachi spent his time sleeping, but the truth was that Itachi never slept. If only he could escape to that place. Now he was just sitting here, listening as the hours passed by – the darkness inside of him strangled everything.
He heard cars run by, faint bird chirping, and Shisui's faint whimpers. He heard the sound of Sasuke putting down the tray outside his door. He could hear it in the sound that Sasuke felt betrayed, abandoned.
But he didn't feel a thing. He simply stared at the wall, numb from the pain ripping him to pieces.
Sasuke took a sip from his coffee once it was done. He placed the cup on the counter and found some old toast in the cupboard. He needed to go out and get some groceries, but he didn't dare to leave Shisui alone, despite Itachi being around. He probably wouldn't come out of their bedroom no matter what. Maybe he could ask Naruto to do it for him? Oh yeah, he also needed a haircut pretty badly. Another thing that'd have to wait. He sat down by the counter and pulled out his phone. He wrote a quick text to Naruto, inviting him over. He didn't really care what Itachi would think at this point. It was his own fault.
As expected, Naruto showed up within ten minutes. He had probably driven there, despite the short distance. When Sasuke opened the door, he was pulled into a tight hug by a grinning blond. "Sasuke! Man, finally! When was the last time we hung out?! How's the little one? And Itachi?" he asked curiously, still squeezing the life out of the poor Uchiha.
"Well, we're fine. Itachi is just napping. He was tired after looking after Shisui," he lied as he led him into the living room.
Itachi perked up a little when he heard a sudden disturbance in the calm flow of familiar sounds. The front door opened - sudden fear and anxiety rushed to Itachi's chest and made it almost hard to breathe for a second. He scooted away to the corner of the room, just wanting the disturbance to go away as soon as possible.
Naruto. He recognized that voice, even though it had been such a long time. Itachi had just woken up from a light slumber, a slumber where everything was alright. But reality was harsh. Something boiled up inside when he heard the cheerful voice of the blond. An instinctive resistance. He almost wished he was there, because it hurt when he realized that Sasuke must have made him come over, as a replacement for Itachi.
He heard Sasuke lie, again. Suddenly Itachi wanted to go out there and wrap his arm around Sasuke's shoulder, showing Naruto whom Sasuke belonged to. He wanted to be like the proud - straight- parents they had seen at the park, who proudly showed off their infants to their friends. Itachi was about to stand up, when he remembered the letter from the hospital they had received. He hardly remembered anything but the confirmation that their son had inherited Itachi's strange, painful disease. He couldn't live with himself after that.
Itachi froze when he heard the baby start coughing. He couldn't help himself, although he knew Sasuke and Naruto were around. He took a deep breath and pulled the bedroom door slightly open.
The moment their son had coughed, Sasuke had rushed over to the crib. He picked him up in his arms and wrapped the blanket securely around him. Naruto watched with a small frown on his face. He hadn't noticed until now how loose Sasuke's clothing seemed to be. And the fact that his hair had grown longer didn't seem to help much. It made his face seem sort of narrow.
Sasuke looked down at the bundle in his arms, placing a soft kiss on Shisui's forehead. "There there ~" he whispered softly before looking back at Naruto. "Uh sorry, but would you do me a favour? I meant to do some grocery shopping, but I didn't want to leave Shisui without supervision since Itachi is sleeping. If I gave you a list, would you help me?"
Naruto looked pretty shocked. He had never once heard Sasuke ask for help. Especially not that nicely. He really must've been desperate to get it done.
"Uh, sure.." he mumbled. He saw the relief spread on Sasuke's face before he covered it up behind the usual mask of indifference.
Itachi sank back into his sitting position on the floor when he saw that his baby was being taken care of. Once again, he had been useless as a father. A total failure as an older brother and the worst kind of partner. He buried his face in his hands.
The hatred he felt for himself was overwhelming.
But he wasn't unknowing, no. He knew everything. Every night when Sasuke eventually passed out from lack of sleep, he left his dark room. He would wander around in the house like a pale ghost, watching everything. The items in the sink, on the kitchen table. How they had moved since last night. How they had been used.
Then, he would go to Shisui. The tiny thing, the gentle, helpless being that he and Sasuke had created. It hadn't been planned. Quite a shock for them both.
He would cup the baby's face ever so gently, as if he was afraid to break him. Seeing how small and helpless he was. He was perfect, as if he was sculpted in frail glass.
Then he would slowly, slowly approach Sasuke.
Every day, Sasuke was getting thinner. When did he last eat? Itachi stopped breathing every time he saw those dark circles under his eyes, the picture of despair on his sleeping face. Probably nightmares. Strange wounds on his wrists… Itachi was too ashamed to even touch him. He leaned over the sleeping boy, his heart bleeding.
Last night, he had not been able to control himself. He had leaned down, about to kiss his face, when Shisui had made a sleeping sound and Itachi quickly moved away from his beloved, back into the shadows. 'Stupid little brother. Why don't you keep on living like you should? Just because I can't...'
Itachi knew everything. He knew all the times when Sasuke had sat crouched on the bathroom floor, his world collapsing. He remembered the times they spent lying in bed, talking honest words with each other, talking about how much they loved each other.
And now, he was sitting there again, isolated from his little, broken family. Helplessly watching as their friends slowly took more and more place in their lives.
Sasuke looked over his shoulder, just as he was about to say something to Naruto. That's when he noticed that the bedroom door was open a bit. He paused in his tracks completely, suddenly not knowing what to do with himself. Of course Shisui started whimpering once again, as Sasuke's comforting tone suddenly disappeared and his hold lessened. Naruto seemed to realize what was happening and decided to take over.
Sasuke just stared at the small crack. Remembering when the door used to be wide open – easy access. It had been so nice when he and Itachi had dined together, laughed together, and cuddled up on the couch after a long day.
But forever doesn't last more than a certain time.
They thought nothing could tear them apart. They said forever as they kissed, as they spent every moment with each other and slept tightly entangled.
Forever came and went; it just stumbled through the door, messed up, and left just like that. It was already gone.
Yes, everything they hoped for and dreamed of – the word 'forever' had fooled them. They had it all, but then it fell down the cracks of Itachi's unstable mind. Yes, Sasuke had decided that Forever could not be trusted. It couldn't live up to its name.
Still, he never stopped hoping. That one day, that closed door would open once again.
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Thank you for reading!
- Crystallinee & Noah