A/N: My apologies for the delay. The huge support this fic has received has made me push myself to pick it up again despite my hectic schedule. Thank you very very much for the immense support guys! :)

Again, I'm sorry I am not addressing each review/PM individually. There have been so many (which I am very very happy about) and most were so positive and encouraging. It made me feel wonderful knowing that so many like this story. Don't worry guys. I will not abandon it. Ever.

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Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Warning: Alpha/Beta/Omega trope, Possible Mpreg, Slight Feminization.

Naruto was feeling beyond giddy. Things were going so well between him and his mate. He barely succeeded in suppressing another wide smile and put the book in his hand back in its rightful place on the rack.

Naruto would never, not in a million years, have imagined Sasuke to be so… so sweet. The big Alpha's scary exterior housed a wonderfully thoughtful man. He bit his lip, thinking back to Sasuke's gift.

He highly doubted anyone would go through so much trouble for anyone. Let alone him.

It was amazing just thinking about his big Alpha on the ground thoughtfully picking the tiny fluffy dandelions… all for him.

His Alpha.

Naruto couldn't have stopped the smile that overcame his face even if he had tried.

Life was wonderful.

Naruto was still daydreaming about Sasuke when he was snapped out of it by his ever present, every annoying co-worker, Sai.

"So, how's your mate?"

This time though, even Sai seem surprised by the beaming smile that greeted him as reply.

"He's great."

He was sure Sai was looking at his back quizzically as he practically glided away in a dreamy haze.

His mind was half caught up in his own little slice of perfect happiness and half in a race to think of something nice to do for his Alpha.

Naruto bit his lip and ducked behind a rack, silently hoping no one noticed his burning face or heard the giggle that escaped him.

His Apha.

He hunted down some more books by his new favorite author and read them. He was still a bit embarrassed by some of the scenes in them, but it was getting easier to imagine Sasuke and himself behaving like the characters in them...

... and doing things like they did.

Naruto continued to read with wide eyes even as he felt his face heat up.

When it was time to leave, Naruto almost skipped to the entrance to meet Sasuke. He didn't even doubt his presence anymore. As the sky was blue and the sun rose in the East, his mate would be waiting for him when the day was over.

Naruto couldn't help the beaming smile that overtook his face as soon as his eyes landed on Sasuke. And at the same time, he felt his heart skip a couple of beats.

Naruto was in trouble.

Curiosity overtook him when he saw the small parcel in Sasuke's hand. His inquisitive mind ran a mile a minute wondering what it could be. Trying to figure out what was in it.

Could it be for him?

Even as he hoped it was, he chastised himself for being so selfish. It wasn't too long back that Sasuke had been thoughtful enough to get him his favorite dish... and the plant… and then the flowers.

Naruto felt embarrassed and guilty. He hadn't gotten his mate anything. He had spent almost the whole day thinking of a gift for the Alpha and had drawn a complete and utter shameful blank. And the time when he wasn't thinking of a gift had been spent reading (dirty) books and imagining doing those things with his mate.

Naruto's feeling of guilt increased threefold. He didn't earn any of this. All he had done so far was yell at the poor Alpha and then gobble up all of his kind attention.

That was the exact moment the Naruto's dark voice in his mind reminded him about his awful secret. He wasn't pure. His Alpha probably thought that he was. But Naruto wasn't. He was dirty and a now a liar and was deceiving his poor perfect mate.

He didn't deserve the Alpha.

Naruto kept quiet. He was starting to hope that the package wasn't for him.

As soon as they reached home, Naruto was startled out of his thoughts when Sasuke almost presented the box to him. As guilty as he felt, he couldn't help feeling cherished and delighted under his wonderful mate's attention. He made a promise to himself to get Sasuke something as well.

Something amazing. Something as wonderful as the Alpha. And soon, before he told Sasuke his secret. If he told him soon enough, then maybe Sasuke would forgive him and they could still be friends. Even if he finds another Omega to be with after leaving Naruto.

The blond omega bit his lip hard, choking back the suffocating sadness welling up inside of him.

He eagerly opened the box which contained delicious looking cakes.

He knew that he doesn't deserve all this attention. But he couldn't help drink it all in. He looked up at his mate and saw past the stoicness that seemed to be the only thing the rest of the world noticed. He could see a flicker of soft affection in his mate's eyes and felt his heart skip a beat.

Just a little longer.

The blonde carefully picked one piece of cake and tasted it. It was soft and fluffy and nearly melted in his mouth.

"Where did you get them? They're really good"

"My Sensei's mate made them."

"Oh?" Naruto paused his cake gobbling for a moment when he felt the small flutter he felt in the bottom of his tummy. This felt like an important moment in their relationship.

"I had half a day off. So my Sensei invited me for lunch."

"Oh." He knew how important Sasuke's sensei was to him. He had not gotten a chance to meet Kakashi and his mate so far and so he was worried whether they'll like him.

'What if they think he's not a good mate for Sasuke?'

'But Sasuke hadn't taken him along for lunch... so is he embarrassed to take him there?'

'How much longer would he be able to share precious moments like these with the Alpha?'

'Is he falling in love with Sasuke?'

'Would Sasuke ever feel the same way about him?'

'Would he still want to be with him after Naruto told him about his past?'

'Would Sasuke leave him if his Sensei and his Omega doesn't like him?'

'Does he really deserve Sasuke?'

Naruto was so caught up in his own spiraling doubts that he almost dropped the box in his hand when Sasuke touched his shoulder.

"What's wrong? Don't you like them?"

He turned around to see worry written all over his mate's face.

Once again startled out of his thoughts, Naruto shook his head hard, smiling. He shouldn't let his own paranoia ruin his mate's thoughtful gift. "I love them. They're really good."

The flutter resurfaced when he saw Sasuke smile back.

"Yes. I love them too."

They shared the rest of the cakes together. Each tasting better than the last.

Naruto couldn't get himself to sleep. He kept rolling around. His body was tired. But his mind was running a mile a minute. He knew it was silly, but he couldn't help dissect every sentence that Sasuke had ever said to him. Everything that he had ever done for him. Every rare and fleeting expression that he caught on gruff Alpha's face. Anything and everything that he could think of to figure out if Sasuke liked him.

The man was incredibly polite. But did he actually like him or was he simply being a good man? The latter would be enough for Naruto to fall for him, as hard as it is to find an Alpha who could just be a decent person.

... But he hoped...

... he wished...

... Wouldn't it be wonderful to just be in love and to be loved back?

From what those books in the library told him, it seemed like the most wonderful thing in the world.

Naruto sighed and turned onto his side and stared at the empty pillow next to him. His Alpha still slept outside the room on the dirt floor. No amount of pleading seemed to make him budge.

'Did that mean Sasuke only saw himself as Naruto's caretaker? Did he see Naruto as just a responsibility? If he really liked him wouldn't the Alpha want to...?'

Naruto, embarrassed with his own thoughts scrunched his eyes shut and ducked beneath the covers.

'Ugh. What was he thinking? Here he was cursing all Alphas for being perverted with only one thing in their minds and now, faced with such a nice man... he was doing the same!'

Maybe he really didn't deserve such a nice mate. He bet Sasuke's sensei would think the same. And then he'd tell Sasuke that. And then Sasuke would leave him.

Naruto felt the intense urge to pull out his own hair at how his own mind was trying to drive him insane with worry. He never knew that his imagination could be this detailed or his paranoia could be this deep.

He rolled onto his stomach and when that just made it hard to breathe, he rolled back onto his back. The hapless sheets were wrapped around him, covering him like a dumpling.

The omega closed his eyes and pictured himself in Sasuke's arms.

The immediate warmth that filled him from inside left him feeling safe and cozy.

There were no more voices keeping him from falling asleep.

Naruto woke up again in the middle of the night. It was very cold. He wondered if Sasuke was ok. He knew that his resilient mate didn't feel the cold as much as he did. But the man did not even have a blanket with him.

He looked around for another sheet and when he couldn't find one, he gathered the one he had in his arms and made his way out. He'll be damned before he left the nicest person he knew suffer. He was going to wrap him up in the blanket if it was the last thing he did.

He was right. His poor mate was cold.

Naruto could see Sasuke shivering terribly.

The omega hurried to his Alpha's side with the blanket. He wasn't sure if the Alpha was awake and so spoke hesitantly.

"Sasuke... here... use thi-"

Naruto stopped when he saw that Sasuke was still asleep. The blond sighed and bent down to cover the man with the blanket. And that's when he noticed it.

His face.

Sasuke's eyebrows were scrunched up and lips pulled down in a frown. His handsome face looked grim and...

… so sad.

He saw with bated breath, lost on what to do, as Sasuke's lips parted and he whispered something.

Naruto bent his head closer to hear better.

"I'm sorry."

Naruto's eyes snapped open when he heard that. He pulled back to take a better look at his mate's face. The troubled expression still remained.

'Was he having nightmares?', Naruto wondered, confused.

"I'm sorry"

'What was he apologizing for?'

The answer struck him like a charging bull instantly as he heard Sasuke call out to his mother. The Omega remembered Sasuke's past.

'He was apologizing to his family!'

Naruto could almost physically feel the sadness that seemed to be pouring out of his mate in spades. Knowing the full well how it feels to endure the horrible fate of not being able to leave one's past fully behind.

Naruto wished he could help. To help ease his mate's pain. To take it all within himself if he could… but didn't know how.

He stood next to Sasuke, feeling utterly useless. Being able to do nothing but look on as his sweet mate suffered, trapped, as his own mind punished him.

Just then, Sasuke threw one arm around his waist and held him tight.

The fervent whispering continued. Naruto, decided to stop thinking and went with his instinct for once. He placed one hand on Sasuke's head and gently stoked his hair, whispering back.

"It's ok Sasuke."

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

"Shhh. It's ok."

Time ticked by as they sat there, Alpha and his Omega – One reaching out for redemption and the other offering his warmth.

Naruto left to his room only after Sasuke had settled down. The troubled expression having left his handsome face completely. The blonde so badly wanted to wrap himself around his mate, as a sort of physical protection from the bad thoughts plaguing the Alpha who has been so nice to him. The cold didn't matter to Naruto.

The only thing that stopped him was the fear that he might push his mate too far. That he might be taking too many liberties and make his mate shrink back into his shell and continue suffering alone. He wanted to respect his mate's privacy and wanted to earn his confidence instead of accosting him.

The next morning, the blonde came out of his room, not having gone back to sleep out of worry for his mate. Seeing Sasuke sitting up, looking confused at the sheets around him, he went and stood in front of Sasuke with a cheery smile.

"Good morning Sasuke."

The smile that his mate gave back looked painful.

Naruto felt sad. He wanted to hold him like he did the previous night and tell him it was all going to be ok.

But he knew that Sasuke didn't know what had happened the previous night and did not want to bring it up, lest it might embarrass the Alpha.

Breakfast, though not a rambunctious affair by any stretch of the imagination on any given day, was particularly desolate on that day.

Naruto tried his best to keep up the conversation, but it proved to be impossible when the other participant seemed to be in another world. So he just smiled when he caught Sasuke's eye, wishing he could read his mind.

'It's ok, Sasuke. I'm there for you.'

The rest of the morning, Sasuke hardly met his eye. As it was, Sasuke hardly looked at him. And now it seemed like the Alpha was trying to forget his existence.

It hurt.

The walk to the library was suffocating in its silence. Fresh doubts plagued the omega's mind, bring him down.

They reached the library much earlier than usual. The place almost seemed deserted. The day looked beautiful, but didn't feel like it.

He stood one step ahead and turned around to look at his mate.

The strong Alpha looking so crestfallen and wrecked made up his mind.

He was not going to back off. Naruto was not going to abandon his kind mate. He was going to be there right next to him… right up and until Sasuke didn't want him anymore.

The Omega placed his hand on Sasuke's. That finally made Sasuke look at him.

He looked at Naruto with such a broken and lost expression on his face that it made it hard to breathe just looking at him.

"I'm sorry." Sasuke whispered.

That broke Naruto's resolve. He finally gave into the urge and wrapped his arms around his ailing mate.

He just held him. Letting him feel and know that he was there. That he will always be there. Not matter what. Even if Sasuke didn't want him anymore.

After what seemed like hours, Naruto pulled back with a smile.

Sasuke looked back with so much gratitude at that simple gesture that his heart broke all over again.

Sasuke had been punished for what had happened. He deserved some happiness in his life and if Naruto could give it, then he will.

When Naruto tugged Sasuke down and kissed him, he didn't feel the least bit embarrassed.

Naruto was determined to help his mate as much as he could.

And he felt that it included making a good impression on the people who meant so much to his Alpha.

Which is why, he was currently feeling so nervous sitting in front of his mate's Sensei and his mate. And it didn't seem like he was going to stop feeling nervous anytime soon with the way his mate seemed to be sweating up a storm.

From the corner of his eye Naruto could see his Alpha. With a cursory glance, no one would be able to tell just how anxious the big, stoic Alpha was. But Naruto had gotten quite adept at reading Sasuke's tells and right now, he could surmise just how nervous he was.

Naruto skimmed his gaze over his mate's features. Sasuke looked pale. He looked on edge, on high alert even. As if he was on the verge of a fight. The Alpha's fingers were flexing, grasping at thin air and knee jerking every now and then almost hitting the table.

He was also very sure that the Alpha and Omega in front of them could see Sasuke's near nervous breakdown.

Naruto wondered if Alpha was nervous that he would embarrass him.

He jolted when something hit the table, jerking it. This was soon followed by Sasuke apologizing profusely and righting the table.

Naruto sighed, helping reset the table. It was going to be a long night.

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