"As of today, the Uchiha clan is no more. The name shall be struck from all our records, and any who may claim the name declared our enemies. Their deeds and lore shall be forgotten. Their material property..."
Sasuke stares ahead, unflinching.
He knew the punishment would hurt going in. He knows he deserves it to hurt.
They can't take being an Uchiha from him. But what they're refusing him -- it's deeper. His place in the tapestry of names, one leaf on the family tree. He's cut adrift, floating alone until he falls and dies. He and his legacy.
"As for the matter of Sasuke, missing-nin..."
He doesn't blink. He doesn't change expression. He starts listening again, though, involuntarily. His personal name calls him back, though the other one stings.
"As of today, Uchiha Sasuke is deceased. No-clan Sasuke is as of now forbidden to share any of the history of the Sharingan, the history of the Uchiha, or even his own, except under express order of the Hokage. Do you understand the sentence?"
His eyes narrow then, just a little. He can only see a blur where the judge's face is supposed to be, but the man's voice wavers for a second and then turns harsher, reminding him of his place, or trying to.
"Do you understand the sentence?"
"I do," he says, after a suitably disdainful pause.
They cannot execute him for real. So instead they're killing everything he represents. The idea of him. It's ridiculous, a game of I'm-not-talking-to-you-anymore coming from people he never wanted to talk to anyway.
It hurts anyway but he'll die before he lets them see.
"The sharingan being an asset to the village, No-clan Sasuke will be entered into another clan register and adopted as such. He may not be the primary caregiver to any children born thereafter, and his access to those potential children shall be limited at the clan head's discretion, as his behavior dictates. He may not be legally responsible for those potential children -- the clan head shall be the legal tutor. He may not..."
Sasuke listens to the litany of may-nots and thinks that he'd rather steal a good kunai and make himself physically unable to father children, if Sakura refuses to grant his request to be sterilized. All their psychological profiles say that having children is important to him, but they don't get it. He wouldn't have cared if none of his children inherited the sharingan. Not as long as they were his children.
If his role in their life is to be reduced to breeding stock then he'd rather not have any.
He watches the judge and he thinks that perhaps they have found the best punishment, though accidentally. He gave his oath he wouldn't escape -- suicide or otherwise; but if they had killed him that would have been fine with him. Instead he'll just never have family again. A life sentence of peaceful loneliness.
Sasuke smiles in acknowledgement of the irony. Well-done, really. The man drones on.
"After a vote, the family the council has found the clan most suitable for the task is--"
"Mine," says a voice from the Hokage's lodge. It rings so harsh Sasuke doesn't recognize it right away.
It's like a sudden flash of fire, breaking the cold, civil hostility. Sasuke's back stiffens. He doesn't turn his head to look. He would just see a blur but he wants to anyway, even though he hasn't moved or stared anywhere but straight ahead, right through the jury, ever since the trial started.
The council is in an uproar, shocked, gasping. It takes a long time for civilized quiet to fall again. Disapproval stays thick in the air, silent but heavy.
The voice just ignores them. "I don't know who was on that list," and I don't care, it doesn't say, but everyone hears it anyway.
"You can't just--"
"I just did."
"There are processes! Rules!"
Sasuke stares ahead still, even though this time it's to hide the storm he feels again.
He should have known.
"You're not Hokage yet!" someone yells in offense.
Sasuke huffs out an almost silent laugh, incredulous and yet totally, utterly unsurprised. They've lost the argument already. He's the Sixth, all but crowned. He's the son of the Fourth. And he doesn't care about any of that shit.
He lands on the tiles with a sharp click and he stands there in front of Sasuke, and Sasuke closes his eyes because everything is so blurred. And he says, "As of today, you are Namikaze Sasuke."
Sasuke keeps his eyes closed.
"... Come on. Let's go home."
So he opens his eyes again and he says, "Okay," and it is.
In Japan sometimes homosexual men would adopt their lover into their family, so that they would be on the family register and share the same name/clan allegiance. Officially a new brother or son, but friom what I understand it just so happens that's also how you register the entrance of a new wife anyway.
"The only reason," Naruto said through clenched teeth. "The only reason they caught him. Is that he was exhausted after helping me stop Madara and destroy that statue."
He didn't move, carefully still, and that was scarier than if he'd been pacing. Sakura stared at him, unable to say a word, to console him, reassure him -- nothing would come. She'd never known he was capable of such cold wrath.
"He helped me. He helped us. Was sure he'd die. And they want to punish him like that -- the only reason they still have him is that he decided not to leave."
"He's going blind," she said quietly, and immediately regretted it.
"Like that would stop him!" A brief snarl, and then cold control once again. She could barely stand it. She wanted to yell at him, press him until he let it all burst out in one great rush and then be free of it, but that wasn't going to happen. "... Like that would stop him one minute."
She closed her eyes and nodded. He was right. Going blind might stop many, but Sasuke...
He'd given his word he wouldn't escape, not even in death.
She didn't want to allow herself to care again. She just... didn't. It hurt too much, it was so hopeless, it just... it just...
"I have an idea," she said, because in the end wherever they went she would always follow.
"You know," Naruto says, voice sleepy-rough, quiet, "I was joking when I said you were technically my spouse now."
Sasuke can't see Naruto. It's dark. (he tells himself that's the only reason why.) It doesn't matter. He knows where the bed is.
He sheds his kimono. "I wasn't."
"So do you have any idea who you want as concubines?"
Sasuke pauses, and then carefully puts down the brush and its dripping tip. (he cannot see his hand anymore, but he can still feel it, the ability to translate memory into action being one of the cornerstones of the Sharingan bloodline.) He tips his head toward Naruto, not fully.
"What? 'course I'd ask you, you're the wife."
"--Not in the sense that you're anything like a chick, geez! I mean I'm clan head, yeah? Any kids will be mine by default, legally." His voice quiets down, loses the fake lightness. "But if I take a wife with actual womanbits... Then she's the wife and you're only a..."
"Only one of the concubines," Sasuke replies without heat.
"... I think legally the elders wanted to call that adopted brotherhood or whatever."
Sasuke snorts. The elders can tell themselves whatever soothing lies they wish. Here, between their walls, they know the truth.
Naruto wants him to be the first concubine, because that's almost as good as being legally wedded. Oh, he still won't have any legal rights or any authority outside of the household, but the terms of Sasuke's punishment mean he wouldn't have anyway.
What Naruto is offering him here -- Sasuke choosing the concubines, because he'll be the one who has children with them, Sasuke being given as much authority as he can possibly hold, it's...
"I won't sleep with them if you're not there."
"What? You don't have to promise me that, it's fine if--"
Sasuke allows himself one short burst of frustration. "I don't want to, dimwit!"
Silence. Sasuke hates it. It isn't natural for Naruto to be quiet, still. Sasuke can't read him when he's that way.
What Naruto is offering, it's that behind that pretense of being the head of the household, Sasuke will be the husband, with the wives, and the children, and Naruto will just be... he's not sure. His celibate elder brother? His... male lover, who might indulge in the pleasures of a woman that's his mostly just in name, and otherwise treat them all as little sisters, because in truth Sasuke is the one siring, parenting their children?
With Naruto's self-sacrifical streak the idea must already be pretty entrenched. Sasuke's pride is in tatters but it's still hard to bring out words strong enough they'll knock him off his stubborn ideas.
"I don't want to be their husband," Sasuke forces out, very quietly. "I want to be yours." He bares his teeth, glares at where he's vaguely aware Naruto must be. "So either you're here taking equal chances with the paternity roulette, or nothing happens."
And it's alright with him, oh god is it alright. He already knew he would love any child of his, even if they weren't blessed with the Sharingan. But here and now he knows he will love Naruto's, too.
They would have his protection regardless, of course, for services rendered, but he might even come to personally give a damn about the wombs on legs who'll be providing them.
"... let's not ask Sakura," is the last thing he whispers before Naruto is on him, mouth wet and salty with something like tears, a low growl of anguish and resentful gratitude vibrating in his throat.