The truth shall set you free

3. Moving on

3. Moving on

Every morning Naruto came by to go for a run with him. His friend would come when the first sunlight bathed the waking town, as if Sasuke would run away should he not come earlier. Looking at his friend sweating this earlier when he was more of the ''nighttime" person just didn't sit right with him.

That's the tip of the iceberg though. He still couldn't believe Naruto forgave him and was even trying to help him through.

"You don't need to get me out like a little dog every morning"

"A dog? You look more like a cat to me. Man, look at these eyes" he laughed

"You've got serious problems Naruto"

"Ha! Ha! Sure if that's what help you sleep at night. Anyway, if I don't, I won't get laid"

"What do you mean?"

"Sakura and Ino are kindergarten friends and that Sakura is worried every time between seconds about you pisses off Ino who make me pay for this –oh, she hates your guts by the way. So, the equation to my healthy life is simple: me keeping an eye on you and reporting to Ino plus Ino reporting to Sakura equals everyone happy, including lil' Naruto"

"It's just about sex"

"Nooo –it's about boobs. Huge dif'"

"Perverts never change"

"That's not me being pervert; that's me enjoying life"

"I prefer never to face your pervert side then"

"You'd better not"

Naruto laughed wholeheartedly, making a smirk cross Sasuke's lips.

"And it's spring! Look up at the sun shining down on us poor souls" the blond head said in a dramatic manner "look up at birds singing and shitting on people… and look at the beautiful park and cherry trees and shiny buildings. How can I not help Sasu-kat get some fresh air –hey, don't run so fast! Wait for me!"

"I've got better things to do than listening to your shitty nonsense"

"Like what? Calling Sakura-Chan so I could receive a reward from Ino?"

"I prefer Ino to torture you. It's much more gratifying"

"Ha! Ha! But seriously, what is going on with Sakura-Chan?"

"Why do you ask that?"

"Dunno. You look but you don't act like her fiancé. And you're so outdated on relationships yet she's pregnant"

"I'm not"

"Bf?"

"No"

"So… you're trying to tell me that you fucked without protection some random girl"

"Apparently"

"O-kay. What about her then? Because, I don't use 'Chan' for nothing. She's a very nice girl"

"Nothing. I'm not interested and I don't see why she's"

"You're heartless as ever"

There was a bitter kind of joke in Naruto's words despite the seriousness in his tanned face. Every one knowing him always thought of him as a cold, heartless android when ironically what he had craved the most was love. He had craved it like a drowning man lost in the middle of an ocean would for air. But he too had so much accumulated feelings from all those years of loneliness to give, ingeniously hid behind stone walls.

Then she entered the picture.

She had been a like meteor crossing his cold pitch dark sky, warming him, blinding him but disappeared as fast as she came. Everything now was back to cold, black and lonely; like that moment of raw illumination and exaltation had been nothing but illusion in his head. Only a man that had been trapped in a high cold mountain at night could grasp what missing her warm and light had meant.

No words had been strong enough to describe the euphoria her balmy presence brought to his life –no words could express his agony when she left him behind. That love he felt for her had been so intense it had hurt.

And her departure literally threw him off the deep end.

He remembered when he learned through another person she was to marry another man. Time marked a pause on its self. Films were wrong about memories flashing instantly because it has been empty. It has been silent and very isolating.

The moment was so strange like everything would disappear did he close his eyes for a second.

Days passed by like a blur then. The feeling of being right at the bottom of a well was constantly nagging.

Each morning, he would wake up with an overwhelming sense of dread and anxiety. His heart would descend from his chest into his stomach while buried under a sheet that still held her scent, he'd muse about how lonely not having Hinata to talk to was.

Every night, he would feel as if he was going to throw up all his insides. It was hard to describe how much hurt he had felt inside. He had held so much regrets then.

There were times when she would appear with her much older and far richer husband on TV or newspaper. When his eyes would slide over her finger rid of the ring he gave when they exchanged their vows, he would wonder how different things could have been, had he been enough to keep her. His heart would be a little heavier, and his breathe a little more itching.

Now things were different. His life was an urgent, desperate struggle to survive. Her ghost wouldn't drown him.

Nothing was left from that passionate person seeking for an all-consuming relationship but a believer in healthy and independent life. Then again it couldn't be otherwise when his eyes opened on the sad truth: all that time, his real place had been of a domestic animal she'd kept around for lonely days and had thrown away when she'd found what she's looking for.

The worse part of all that was he couldn't forget despite him trying. She's embedded into his brain like cancer. His guilt had stopped, though, and that was a big step forward. That lasted for over six months. He hated Hinata. He hated what she did to him and was glad she's far away. He tried not to think about where she was, how she felt or what she was doing. If he thought about it too hard, he'd probably feel guilty all over again. So he always forced her out of his head and trudged through his life ignoring parts that'd pull him under so far he wouldn't be able to get up.

It's hard to feel hatred toward someone you got feelings still lingering…

"Don't be too harsh. She's now part of your family and life too; as I'm sure you want to be close to the baby. And she's in love with you"

"As I am now, I'm not good to anyone -not even for you"

"You've always been shitty but we're friends"

"I'm doing her a favor. I don't want to do to her what I've been done"

"Is it that or are you still in love with Malefic?"

"What?"

"I mean, you went pretty far for her and you were crazy as bat-shit about her so…"

"I wasas you said"

"What about now?"

"All I want is to forget about her."

"You can't erase a memory like that. I've tried but it doesn't work like that"

To his grief people and things in his life tended to go back to her: either people talking or places where they had passed time.

People usually said memories are part of us, but this time he was simply going to break rules. She had done enough, hurt enough for him to keep her as memory. Maybe one day he'd look back and remember their time as nostalgia, but the wound was still fresh and was turning into gangrene. It needed to be closed. There was no way around for him to be functional.

"I'll do anything to succeed because her memories are poisons I prefer to get rid of"

"As long as you're functional human being the technics is yours to choose"

"You're a shrink now. How funny" Sasuke chuckled gladly embracing the change.

"I'm just a deep guy"

"You'll never be"

"Yeah that's for you. I prefer to be the cool comic. The CC you see? Oh god I'm badass"

"Of course"

"Definitely! AND, I will be the greatest uncle of all. Be sure I will compensate with him or her. Tu niño es mi niño"

"I will definitely not let you get anywhere close to the child to infect it with your craziness"

"AND" Naruto half shouted, making an exaggerated version of a vexed person "I hope your child look more like the mother, especially if it's a girl. A little Sasuke girl would be scary. You'll do the perfect angry father though. You are father Sasuke, can you believe it"

"Not quite yet"

"I'm envious Sasuke. You have always been one lucky dude"

That was his words, but in reality Sasuke was the one envious. His childhood friend had always had that great strength he could never possess, something that illuminated everything and put him over everyone else. Surely he'd have done better than him on this matter.

"I agree with you though. Let Malefic root in trash and party like good ol' times"

"Malefic? Really?"

"I know I've surpassed myself –but no! let's not talk about her as you said! Let's party! Man, when was the last time we partied? We are old dudes in young skin. Such a shame"

"What do you propose then 'Party Boy'"

"You 'quoting air' doesn't reach me." Naruto sneered " as for now, let's travel back to Konoha. See ol' friends you see?"

Surely Naruto eternal energy and easily way to make things fun would keep him entertained not to delve back into black corners, then again only time could mend along his own drive not to be buried alive but move on. As for now, he couldn't complete erase the anger, the pain, the helplessness all those dreadful memories of her gave him.

Ever since this morning after the flash info on her husband's funeral and the view of her swallowed by her long black dress, he couldn't forget that he put his life and everything on stake for her…

.

.

.

It was crazy how danger brought one such vivid lucidity. When something you consider dreadful happen to you, it suddenly feel like your life had been a haze all this while, and now you are seeing the world as it is. Your sharper eyes see colors brighter, your ears catch the slightest sound and your skin is sensible at the caress of the wind. But your instinct of surviving was the sharpest.

Instance of survival was one of those intense moments where you meet your real self.

Sasuke could barely believe what he was doing at the moment.

All of that was because of her greedy step father who attacked the wrong person –his boss. But complaining and showing fingers was of no use. The cause didn't matter but the consequences. And in this story they were big: her family was in danger and by cause and effect so was Hinata, and her step father's boss proposed to exchange her with the debt. Sasuke would never forget the dirty way the older man had looked Hinata up and down. No later than that, he sent four rough men to beat him to death –he almost lost his life there.

To say his life was in danger was an understatement when one took in consideration the man's wealth and influence, the beat-up and the dead threats' from both that scum but Hinata's own step-father. The only way out of it for him was to leave Hinata alone. But then, it was Hinata.

They could always ask for his arm or kidneys.

If walking over his own moral and be something he despised, so be it. She loved her family and he'd help to save them. After that though, there was no way they'd do that to her and to them ever again. There's a limit to what someone could endure because of selfish people. They were selfish? So was he, and he wanted one thing: Hinata only for him. They made their time and now it was Hinata's and his.

Sasuke gaze into Sakon's cunning and arrogant eye, the other being hid under a strand of silver hair. The mission was clear: make a little 'trip' to Colombia and bring some stuff to their boss' friend. They were to travel together. Of course it was in any case one of them never made it back.

He'd have to play it fine and clever because there was no way he didn't see Hinata ever again.

Sakon's appearance wasn't one to trust: his mid long hair hiding one part of his face along his punk-influenced look (painted nails and lips) doubled with his sneaky and versatile behavior gave Sasuke all reasons needed not to trust him. At the end, one side would be chose and Sasuke felt the guy wanted his skin.

And he needed to stay alive if he ever wanted to see Hinata again. Adrenaline was now buzzing through his very cells –intense to be this aware.

"Whoa, pretty boy here is finally ready" he sneered "I wonder why Orochimaru waited just for you to make the trip. People know how to win favors"

"When do we go and comeback?"

"You are quite arrogant Hatake. I don't like your tone"

"I don't give a shit what you like or not"

"Aw! The boss' pet is talking all high now. You might have not realized but you're on my territory here" he hissed with an evil grin

When things could hardly be uglier, a too familiar blond head made it to his peripheral view. Well, soon or later that confrontation would have come. It was probably the best place for that with all the witnesses. So be it.

Hinata wasn't the only person he wanted to protect in this. Anyone he considered family, he could give his life for them -anyone of them. That meant none should get involved with his shit. Even more, they should be held at arms' length

"What? Do you have a problem Blondie?" Sakon dully said

"Naruto…"

"What? Do you know him?" Sakon asked "Is he your friend?" he sneered, his voice full of meaning

"I barely know him"

Naruto was too much stubborn, and too much like him to get any clue. He was so serious about friendship that he had already fought just because one of his friends was insulted. If he tried to explain anything, Naruto would try to do reckless thing. Things could easily get astronomic proportions because of the life he led. Sasuke just wanted everyone he cared for to be alive at the end.

Once he'd be far away from this town with Hinata, he'd call Kakashi and Naruto to apologize and tell them everything. Family came before life too for him. That's why he had been a dick to Kakashi, and he'd be a dick to his childhood friend –his 'brother'.

"So, you're avoiding everyone Sasuke"

"When do I have to come by, tomorrow?" Sasuke asked Sakon, ignoring Naruto pointedly

"Hey, I'm talking to you"

"You're boyfriend's talking to you" Sakon sneered again

"Do I have to go ask directly to Orochimaru?" Sasuke asked, still looking at Sakon with a stern look

The guy was a piece of work.

"I am talking to you!"

This time, Naruto spoke louder and pushed Sasuke in the chest. The abrupt movement made Sasuke whip around and meet face to face with a frowning Naruto.

Sparkles fizzled between them like neon flashing 'fight'. Curious heads turned toward them.

"What the fuck is your problem?"

"No, what's your fucking problem. You totally ignore me, you ignore everyone and you go as far as insulting Kakashi? Did you forget that man took you from that hole they call orphanage and raised you?"

"I never asked him to"

"Dicky Sasuke is coming back I see"

"When someone doesn't answer your calls maybe it's because they don't want to. All those rejects you wiped with every single girl didn't teach you a lesson as I see. Should I talk slower for you?"

"Why are you insulting me?"

"Because you still don't understand I don't want anything to do with you. I'm tired of training drags around my ankles, you loser!"

"Stop calling me loser!"

"But that's what you are! You're just a piece of shit and stupid as fuck. I still can' believe you thought we were friends. Did you really think we look the same?"

"If you were better you wouldn't be working in this hole"

"This hole like you call it is better than the streets you're working on. You're just a loser who will stay that: a fucking loser"

Naruto's fist popped on Sasuke's clenched jaw. A roar erupted from the crowd as Sasuke's back hit the cold concrete. He got up as if it was nothing and dusted his jeans.

"Shit! So, you learn to fight dumbass"

For a second their eyes met, cold dark eyes facing fierce blue ones. They clashed as fast as their body led them. Naruto gave the first hit again but Sasuke dodged it, and landed his knee in Naruto's ribs. He winced but quickly found back his stand and grabbed Sasuke's feet. The dark haired young man stumbled back. Naruto was now on him with fists raised.

Kicks and hits rained, some dodged, most landed –the public was in turmoil witnessing the street-like fight. It was hard to decide either to be shocked by the blood splattering or the insults jarring the air.

"You're such a hypocrite. I always saw you as a brother but you were mocking me all this time. I've always looked up at you dammit!"

"You should have thought twice. And look at our life! I'm no loser like you. Unlike you, I won't stay here"

"You're a pathetic scumbag"

"You won't achieve anything"

They fought a good deal again, bones' popping chocked by the crowd's rave. It took mostly Juugo, a six feet four redhead and Sasuke's restrain to stop the fight. As helpful as crowd usually was, people cursed and booed the redhead but didn't have the courage to face his scary frame.

"What the hell Sasuke!" Karin tried to keep Sasuke back

"Get the fuck outta my way" he snapped back and pushed her out of the way.

Sasuke quickly grabbed his leather jacket and headed out the dojo to his Camaro.

He craved to be close to Hinata at the moment. His world was crumbling, everything was falling apart and adrenaline was not enough to keep things together -only her could.

Hurting Naruto had hurt him real bad, and remembering what he did to Kakashi was not far. The same chanting kept psalming in his head, the same promise of calling them when everything's okay. Explanations were for later.

As for now, he had to reassure and comfort her first. He needed to tell her that he had a solution and that everything would be okay. She needed to stay strong for both of them, until he came back from his trip.

On his way to her house, he couldn't stop thinking about her soothing presence and how they'd be much happier once everything would be over. Hinata was his only medicine in hard times nowadays. Just thinking about her erased everything. It was probably not healthy but he couldn't help it…

Thinking about her intensely, he didn't realize at that time that things could get the uglier….


.

.

.

Her eyes watched the cigarette end glow brightly in the darkness as she took a deep pull. She blew out in a long exhale, her grey eyes glued on the pale and ghostly smoke swirling in the pale light sipping through the heavy curtains. Those curtains were one of the things she didn't change in her late husband office.

She shifted in her seat, patient as a Sioux, and took a quick shot of expensive bourbon in a sculpted glass costing most people's monthly income. They were like the rest of the house in fact, too expensive for the common person.

It had been a long way since her arrival. Penniless and love-struck, she was now one of the most powerful and wealthy people of Japan and the richest woman by far. Sure the other side of the picture was quite ugly and dark, but all that matter was that the victory has been hers at the end.

She won over that shitty man and took what was the most important to him, she was richer than her 'father', she had what her step father had always loved more than life, and she was stronger than him.

Yes, she was a vengeful person full of indecent schemes but all of those traitors had it coming. They treated her as dirt, and then handed her over to a psychopath that destroyed her in every way possible. Physically, emotionally they all had abused her. And the monster turned her into this: a bitter woman full of hatred too heavy to bear.

That anger that was hers now, that hatred that sipped through her marrow was so intense that she shook badly most of times and broke things other times. Sometimes she would scream so hard and tear at her hair until Obito came around and try to calm her. Craziness was lurking for her.

She was losing it, but not just yet. She wouldn't go alone. He was coming with her to hell, where a special place waited them next her disturbed dead husband.

A rough laugh escaped her throat as a foreign sound to her ears. Even her voice changed, taking undertones of someone who had spent a long time without talking. That, along her losing hair, losing weight, losing health, and losing her mind, he was going to be the receptacle of that hate rooting her heart.

"Mrs. Uchiha"

She stopped laughing and lowered her head to meet honey eyes. It was a wonder the man had a skin as pale as her despite being an out-door person. At the end, her brain caught that it was just sign he spent most of his time lurking in shadows. No wonder her husband loved sending him for business. He had been her husband right-hand man and the closest person to Obito she'd ever seen –he even nicknamed him Tobi heavens knew why. That was another problem.

He could be upset or potentially dangerous because of the new reforms but he was close to Obito and she trusted Obito –more than average.

Her pale thin fingers pushed toward him a small squared paper with her handwriting on it. She sipped down a bit of the beverage.

"You have been already to this address once" she drawled with a lazy hand's move "when you were still set to destroy my life"

Her eyes never left Zetsu, wondering if he should be on her list or not. Obito who came with Zetsu never moved from the shadow, and didn't even utter a word. His eerie presence coupled with Zetsu in the dark gave a little insight of what her life could be.

Well, she'd make sure to have them eating in her palm.

"Destroy everything you will found there. Burn it from its darkest pit to the roof. Not even a flea should survive your hand. Nothing, and I mean nothing, should survive this"

For the shortest of moment, a glint of positive appreciation shone in his eyes.

"Do I get carte blanche?"

"As long as the job is done, I don't give a damn about what you do"

Without adding another word, Zetsu made his way to the door probably to join his tanner twin. Ever since her arrival, they had always been stuck together and their black Audi with dark windows. Heavens knew what stories were attached to that.

"Are you sure about what you are doing? It might bring you unwanted attention"

She closed her eyes, and laid her neck against the soft leather seat. All of them had always wanted something from her, and it was evident she looked like safe deposit box to every living soul of that stupid mansion.

'Of course you care'

"Zetsu is an expert"

"What make you think he would know it's you? After all, it's part of the reason of your plan right?" he asked with a hint of curiosity

"Oh, he would know." She smirked at him "after what he had done to me, he would know without need of Zetsu leaving clues that might incriminate me later on… you should do it too. It's invigorant"

Hinata remembered him talking about someone he wanted revenge on. Whether he said that to manipulate her by feelings or not didn't matter. Life was about opportunities, and that was one to get him in her pocket.

"What?"

"Find the one that hurt you and give them back what they deserve since life doesn't know about justice"

"You are full of passion" he chuckled at her

"I will support you at one hundred percent." She firmly stated looking at him straight in the eyes without a flinch "You can always count on me Obito-san"

There was silence as something exchanged between the two of them. What it was exactly was no mystery –two people playing one of the greatest play of hypocrisy. Obito dared smiling, which she answered back. Sometimes words were unnecessary.

"I will devote myself to your cause too"

"It's a pleasure to know about that but you should know who you make promises to. Some take words seriously"

"So do I"

"But, what had he done to you to get so much hate?"

"Please take a seat…"

….


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