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Never Touch Fire

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Sasuke was done. He wasn't going to run any longer. He wasn't going to cut off his bonds, but he wasn't going to strive particularly hard to form new ones. Naruto had beaten him. He only had one reason to stay alive now.

 

If you're willing to die, then stay alive and help me instead.

 

That was all he had now, and honestly that was all he needed or wanted. Naruto smiled at him, face bloody and bruised. Sasuke knew that he didn't look any better. He smiled back. Slowly, they reached their hands towards each other. Sasuke was aware that Kakashi and Sakura were watching them. They certainly wanted Naruto and him to hurry up. They needed medical treatment.

 

Naruto’s fingers wrapped around Sasuke’s to form the ram seal. He felt chakra course through him and into the earth, releasing the Infinite Tsukuyomi. For a split second, Sasuke could see the every place being released individually, although he didn't have a headache at the rush of images. A part of him knew that Naruto was seeing the same thing.

 

Sasuke wasn't expecting himself to start floating. He sent a feeling glance to Naruto, only to see that the boy was just as shocked as he was.

 

Sasuke thought he was healed enough to walk, but apparently he was wrong. His vision darkened suddenly and he could hear his heartbeat in his ears. So he was going to die after all. Naruto would be mad at him, surely. Sasuke had reminisced enough in the last hour. He didn't see his life flashing before his eyes as he edged closer to death. The last thing he thought of was how much Naruto was going to yell at him even in his death before his consciousness slipped away.

 

-break-

 

Sasuke peeled his eyes open, the left one with some difficulty thanks to the blood in his eyelashes. His first thought; being dead isn't supposed to hurt. His second thought; it's way too bright. His third thought; is that Naruto?

 

Sasuke was floating in a white expanse. This looked eerily like the place Naruto and Sasuke’s minds had gone to when Rasengan and Chidori had collided after Sasuke had killed Danzo. Only now the two shinobi were in a much worse condition and on the same side. Naruto was already awake and staring at him, much too close for Sasuke liking.

 

“We're not dead!” Naruto chirped before Sasuke could even ask. Sasuke almost groaned. Naruto must have deciphered his expression.

 

“Don't look so disappointed, bastard!” Naruto yelled. Sasuke’s lip twitched upwards. Naruto scanned his face before stepping away and scoffing.

 

When a man flickered into existence behind Naruto, Sasuke’s mind kicked into overdrive (he was just really tired). He didn't think. Electricity crackled in his palm and he lunged forward. Naruto's eyes widened and ducked under the strike. He turned around to see Sasuke pushing a sword through the man's chest. Or… not. Sasuke went right through the guy.

 

Sasuke saw things very differently. He only realized what he'd done when Naruto dodged his attack. He didn't know what he would've done if Naruto hadn't ducked. His mind was brought back to the soon-to-be victim of his attack when his hand started to feel like it was on fire. His Chidori morphed and stretched until Sasuke thought it had involuntarily shifted into a Chidori Sharp Spear, before the electricity died and Sasuke was left holding his sword that he was sure he'd lost sometime during his fight with Madara.

 

Sasuke hadn't gone through the man, no. The man had gone through Sasuke. It was his own form that flickered which caused Sasuke to almost drop his blade. His stomach felt terribly fragile and for the second his body flickered Sasuke struggled to breath. The utter panic that went through him caused the blade to go skittering away from him.

 

Naruto could only watch with wide eyes and jump back from the man. He didn't know where Sasuke had gotten his sword from but the more weapons they had, the better.

 

“I'm not going to attack you,” the man said, his voice strained. Sasuke had retrieved his sword again and was staring at the man, disbelief crossing his features. “I'm only here to talk.”

 

Naruto knew from experience that some people really did only come to talk. He saw Sasuke’s expression harden before Sasuke disappeared altogether. Naruto was about to throw it all to the wind and attack the man himself before Sasuke appeared next to him. Naruto relaxed, albeit slightly.

 

“What do you want?” Naruto asked. He wanted to get out of here. He felt helpless. He was almost drained of chakra and had no weapons. Sasuke was in the same state but had somehow managed to get his sword. If this man attacked them, they probably wouldn't last that long.

 

“You're not supposed to be in the place you are,” the man said. He was about to continue before Sasuke interrupted him.

 

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Sasuke growled. He hadn't even given the man a chance to explain. Naruto sweatdropped. The temper was something Naruto would need to work on. Sasuke couldn't go around burning things to feel calm anymore. Konoha wouldn't stand for it. An angry Sasuke was not a good thing.

 

“Seek out the avatar to return home. The spirits will help you.”

 

Naruto cringed. Sasuke wasn't going to like that. When Naruto didn't hear Sasuke’s voice or the sound of a fight, he peeked his eyes open, only to see that the whole not-world was fading around them.