A/N: This idea has been plaguing me for a while now. This is Naruto's (late) birthday gift, and it turned out not only bigger than I intended, but also fluffier in the end. It's a weird fic, but I hope you like it anyway!

I like to believe that, considering Sasuke and Naruto both have the Sage's powers, their clones would be far more… resistant than the previous ones, so they are almost human and only able to be dispelled if they are stabbed, brutally hit or if they dispell themselves (or Sasuke and Naruto dispell them).

Since Sasuke is on the run, and now has enough chakra to sustain it, I like to believe that he has been able to master the Kage bunshin and usually uses his clones to get him stuff in the villages or do his 'work' (whatever it is) for him as a precaution.

These last few chapters of the manga had a weird effect on me, and this is the result. I've been having a hard time writing my other fics, but I'm still posting stuff, so that's good, right?

I just needed to purge this from my system. Glad I got it done.

Not betaed.

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto Masashi, and I make no profit from writing fics. I wish I did. The only repay I get are reviews, so… feed me!

WARNINGS: Canon, Post-war universe, Clone sex, man-on-man action, SasuNaru. Don't like, don't read.


If You Were Mine

Lying on his back with one arm behind his head and one hand over his stomach, Naruto blinked at the chapped ceiling of his room. The moon rays filtered through the ajar window beside his bed – the only source of light – and a small but warm breeze waltzed in, carrying with it the nightly scents of summer. Outside, he could hear the sound of crickets, cicadas and the rustling of leaves. Once in a while, footsteps echoed throughout the streets below. Apart from these little noises, the village of Kohona seemed to be lost in a peaceful slumber.

Naruto, however, was too restless to sleep, his body feeling rigid and oddly uncomfortable.

It wasn't that he wasn't tired – he just couldn't stop thinking about it. Not when he felt the familiar presence so close to the village.

Was that on purpose? Was the presence a coincidence or was it a calling? He was never sure, even though he knew what he wanted to believe in.

Sinking his teeth on his lower lip, he moved his hand from his stomach to his face and rubbed it helplessly, feeling his cheeks catch fire.

What the hell, he had told himself he wasn't going to agonize about this. There was no point – nothing was ever going to change no matter what and he knew it. By now, he was already more than fine with it; he had accepted things as they were.

Still, he couldn't help the bitter eagerness that assaulted him, and the inner conflict was always nerve wrecking.

He had lost count of how many times he went through this, already. To go or to stay. To keep reaching out for it or to give up. Hope had always been a good friend of his, so it was only natural that he still hoped for a few things, right? As long as his faith was alive and kicking, giving up wasn't exactly an option.

Not that he was someone who gave up on anything, it was just that…

Wasn't it delusional to want something that wasn't even real to begin with?

Unavoidably, vivid memories assaulted Naruto's brain, and immediately, just remembering made his body tingle with adrenaline and other seemingly chemical reactions that made him want to crawl inside his covers and never come out again.

Groaning, Naruto turned to his side, closing his eyes and curling in on himself in spite of the heat. It was so embarrassing. He was acting like a kid, and he wasn't supposed to be like this. He was Konoha's hero, for fuck's sake, he couldn't be this hopeless about something so trivial compared to all the dangers and difficulties he had already faced in his short life.

The hard part was knowing that it had been real. Not real-real, but real nonetheless. It hadn't been a dream – no one has the same dream that many times. But… again, was there even a point? Other than to indulge himself, that is?

Other than to indulge something that existed but would never be truly acknowledged?

Of course there was. There was always a point, even if… even if not finding it scared him. Even if hoping for it made him ache inside. But also… it made him happy. Maybe this anxiousness wasn't one-sided. Maybe it was no coincidence that he could feel his presence there.

In all honesty, the only thing that had been 'coincidental' had been the first time.

And… why today?

Sighing, Naruto re-opened his eyes. He had no idea how it came down to this, or even why it had all started. Still, what was done was done, and it was all he had, and more than he had ever asked for or dreamed of. It seemed stupid that he would even consider not indulging. After all, he deserved it, didn't he? He had the right. Even if it wasn't what he really wanted, it was still something. And that would have to do, for now.

Tired of thinking, Naruto resolutely moved to a sitting position and made the familiar hand seal, creating a single clone who appeared in a cloud of smoke, standing next to his bed, dressed up in the same orange t-shirt and green boxers he was wearing.

"Get going," Naruto said simply to his replica. The clone sighed as well but nodded once before turning around and making a few seals with his hands, causing his outfit to change to a pair of orange trousers and a black t-shirt. He looked calm and thoughtful but moved quickly, his actions a clear display of his eagerness to go as fast as possible as he went to the nearest mirror and checked himself out on it. Naruto watched the display of emotions on the face of the clone – his own face – studying it carefully. They were too troublesome for something so worthless, he thought. He shouldn't be showing them at all, it wasn't fair, not for something like this.

But he did because, even if it was worthless, if definitely wasn't meaningless. And that alone was what made it essential.

Grunting in frustration, Naruto slumped back on his bed and turned so he was lying on his stomach, face buried in the fluffy pillow. It sucked that it would probably take hours (or even days like it had happened once) before the outcome of his clone's journey would go back to him, and that was the worst part. Now he was regretting having taken so long to decide on whether to send it or not.

Nevertheless, the relief he felt when he heard the clone leaving the apartment and closing the door behind him was obvious. For some reason, it made it easier for him to fall asleep.

ooo

The clone made it out of the sleeping village without making a sound, masking his chakra and easily climbing up the high walls. When his feet landed on the leafy ground of the forest outside, he allowed himself to release a breath he had no idea he'd been holding, but the anticipation and the rush of adrenaline was still pretty much present in his whole body.

Taking a look around, he concentrated on locating the familiar chakra signature he could feel so close, and it didn't take long for him to know which direction to take, so he immediately stormed off towards the center of the forest, nothing but determination and excitement fueling him.

It was always fascinating, he considered. He felt like a wild beast sniffing out the scent of a prey, and yet, the way his chakra found the chakra he was seeking was almost the same thing. Naruto was drawn to that powerful aura like a bee was drawn to pollen because it was a part of him – it lived inside him like a second soul, and he felt it in his very being. Chasing after it was now as easy and as natural as breathing, and it was as comforting as it was upsetting.

Naruto ran for about half an hour at top speed, his heightened senses allowing him to perceive the obstacles in front of him in the darkness. He just wanted to get to him as soon as possible because… oddly enough, he seemed to be waiting. Unmoving. Simply waiting for Naruto to reach him.

He sensed the aura closer still, and his very soul told him what he needed to know. The image of cave at the top of a hill entered his mind without his consent, but he didn't fight it. He could see the path he had to take clearly. He could see a small bonfire and hearing the crackling sound of the burning fire.

He smiled, a familiar emotion filling his chest before resolutely storming off towards his destination. He was sure, now, that he was being called.

It was always like this, but not really. Casually, they'd come to the awareness that the other was close by and act upon it. It was always the same.

Sasuke would simply be there, and Naruto would debate on whether to meet him or not.

The Uchiha didn't always stay in one place, waiting for him. He'd make his presence known, and if Naruto chose to go, he'd be lucky to still find him wherever he had first sensed him. Sasuke didn't summon him. The connection they had since the war had remained with them, and as such, they were both aware of the other in terms of knowing if the other was alive and healthy. When they were considerably close, the connection was more evident and reaching inside each other's minds seemed to be a lot easier, even if this didn't work as telepathy. It was more sensorial than anything else, and it was always weird, because, even though Naruto knew Sasuke's feelings, he never really understood if he was happy they met or just resentful.

But then again weren't they both resentful for all the right and wrong reasons?

It took another fifteen minutes for him to reach the top of the hill and, as expected, there was small cave there, a yellow light coming from it.

Hesitating wasn't an option now that he had come this far, so he stepped inside the cave with as much confidence as he could. There was no nervousness in his stance, but he didn't bother trying to mask his feelings because he simply knew Sasuke would be able to read him like a book.

Sasuke was there, of course, and yet, just like every other time, just like Naruto himself had sent a clone in his place, this wasn't the real Sasuke but a clone, as well. Sasuke himself never showed up – out of self-preservation, Naruto guessed – while Naruto himself was never really in a position where he could simply say that he was leaving the village to see his friend, who also happened to be a missing Shinobi whose head was still on the line in spite of his help during the war.

'Sasuke' was sitting down on the dusty ground with his back against the rocky wall, one leg extended and another one bended with his knee pulled to his chest, his elbow over it. He was looking at the fire with an inscrutable expression and didn't raise his head to acknowledge Naruto's arrival, so the blond wasted a few seconds eyeing him attentively.

He still hadn't gotten used to Sasuke's new style, what with those heavy looking traveling clothes and that worn out fabric he had wrapped around his head, not to mention the fact that Sasuke was actually wearing those long… necklaces, or whatever that was. Surely they must have some deep meaning to him – Naruto liked to believe that it was something related to religion or something since it was clear they were too plain to be mere adornments.

However, tonight Sasuke had divested himself of both the fabric in his head as well as of most of the heavy clothes – which were resting in a neat pile beside him – and was wearing a simple black tank top over a pair of loose grey pants. The necklaces were still around his neck, though, and it gave him an almost foreign, but considerably sexier look that he lacked when wearing his full garments.

They didn't really come across each other all that often, so Naruto wasn't shy in taking his time running his eyes over his friend and identifying small changes in him that hadn't been there the last time they had met. They were still growing, neither having reached their twenties yet, so it was always surprising when they met. Sasuke was growing into a beautiful man, there was no denying it, and yet, his demeanor was, more and more, one of a person that was unreadable and unreachable. Naruto could understand this, but that didn't stop him from wishing that Sasuke was more like him and allowed himself to have people around him.

After a while, obsidian eyes slowly looked up to meet Naruto's sapphire ones, and he felt his heart skip a beat. Sasuke was silent, as if contemplating him for a while, but Naruto could sense a light bubbling coming from him, if from happiness or something else, he couldn't tell, but it put him at ease.

After a few silent seconds, Sasuke offered him his left hand, palm turned upwards and waited. Naruto looked at it, noticing the still very evident mark of a moon on this skin and was, yet again, reminded of why they were there and why, in spite of everything, there was a strong barrier that divided them from the rest of the world.

Biting on his lower lip, Naruto took a few steps towards the other male and lifted his right hand. When his hand touched Sasuke's, fingers surrounded it strongly and their palms came into full contact, creating a jolt of electricity to run up his arm. Through that simple contact, he could feel… Sasuke. Sasuke's heart, beating, the flow of chakra inside his body, the strong pull his power held over Naruto's – or better yet, the way it seemed to power up Naruto's own chakra.

Sasuke didn't let him delve into this too much, because he pulled him down so he was kneeling in front of him, knees touching his thighs. Sasuke's eyes scanned his features with light interest, hand still holding his while the other reached out to pull a bit at his blond hair.

"What have you done to your hair?" he asked, voice calm and low.

"Cutting it short means I don't have to go to the barber shop so often," Naruto explained, feeling a bit self-conscious as he smiled a bit embarrassingly. "Is it that bad?"

Sasuke seemed to consider him for a while. "It looks weird on you," he said simply, taking the chance to run his fingers over the hair at the top of Naruto's head as if trying to figure out how it made him feel. "It takes some getting used to."

"Well, it's more practical this way, and it's not like it was meant to impress you, anyway," Naruto said, pouting a little.

"Oh?" If Sasuke was smiling, one would think he was amused, but he merely stared. Not knowing exactly what else he was supposed to say, Naruto looked back. It was always awkward like this, but at the same time, it wasn't as though they needed it. It wasn't all that complicated at all, really, it was just unfortunate that it had to be like this.

He always hesitated before deciding to see Sasuke, but as soon as they met, it was as if all his doubts were scattered to the wind.

He felt Sasuke's hand moving, slowly, from the top of his head to the back of his neck. His fingers were warm against the skin there, and they offered a small caress before applying a bit of pressure to pull him closer, making shivers run down Naruto's spine. He all but took a short breath before allowing himself to lean in so his lips fell upon the slightly parted ones in front of him. All of a sudden, it was as if everything that was still wrong in his world was just made better by the contact, and Naruto all but basked in the softness of that mouth and the slow, yet intense way it moved on his. It seemed as if he'd never get over the way his heart sped up when they kissed, or the way his stomach twisted when Sasuke's tongue slowly slid across his lips to touch his.

He couldn't remember exactly why they had started doing this. After their battle, they had gone their separate ways and hadn't seen each other for a year. Then, on a mission with Sai and Sakura in a village in the Wind Country, he had sensed Sasuke chakra close by so he had sent a clone to look for him because he wanted to see him badly. Even though the Sasuke his clone had found had also been a clone, he was still happy. Clone Sasuke had dismissed his presence but clone Naruto had stuck to him for the rest of the day, and surprisingly, hadn't forced it to dispel. They had bickered, Sasuke had then ignored him, then they had made small talk – even if the Uchiha refused to say a word about his current lifestyle –, then they had argued with each other and somehow, at the end of the day… they had ended up making out in a dark, rather dirty alley for no apparent reason.

No, that was wrong. Sasuke had kissed him out of sheer frustration and anger. He probably did it to shut Naruto up or scare him away, and yet, Naruto found himself responding, confused and completely powerless to fight what had seemed to be a hidden urge that had apparently been piling up inside of him since the gods knew when. He had been unable to stop himself, or Sasuke for that matter, from engaging in a rather lewd and wild frotting session that had him screaming out the best orgasm of his life up until that day.

When the clones dispersed later on and Naruto got the knowledge of what they had done, he was so shocked he was ready to find a whole to bury himself in, not to mention that he was unconceivably horny. He had debated on it for weeks on end, thinking about his feelings and fearing that he could never face Sasuke again after what had happened between them. But when, a few months later, he sensed Sasuke's chakra, he had ended up going to him anyway.

And thus, the little clone affair had started – it had been strangely easier than Naruto had ever imagined – and, unavoidably, they had ended up doing the same thing, over and over again. It happened every single time they met, like almost a ritual, a habit. And then, one day, the clones had spent a whole night together, making the act of making out and rubbing against each other seem terribly innocent compared to what had happened during those endless hours.

After that, denying it became impossible, and it was definitely not about getting off together anymore. Naruto had come to terms with himself about his apparently more than brotherly feelings towards his best friend, and still… Sasuke wasn't there with him. Nothing but their feelings for each other was consistent, and it wasn't as if they talked about it at all, so there was nothing that defined what they did together.

Well, they fucked. But it was definitely more than just that, and still it wasn't anything in concrete.

Was Sasuke his lover? Were they in some kind of relationship? Could they even think in these terms when they didn't even see each other for months on end? When it was only their clones that met and not their real selves? But it was still them, and their will, wasn't it? So it had to mean something to the both of them.

Naruto knew nothing about that kind of love, and neither did he know about stuff like this. But wanting to do those things with the real Sasuke gave him a fairly good idea of what it meant to him, personally.

Thinking about it was troublesome, and all Naruto wanted just then was to take the chance and have Sasuke just the way he wanted him.

The kiss – as everything between them – escalated quickly, and without breaking the contact, Naruto found himself being maneuvered as Sasuke reversed their positions and made it so he was sitting with his back against the wall. Sasuke moved away to break the kiss and Naruto's lips followed his until they could reach him no more. A little out of breath, he watched as Sasuke stood up gracefully. He wasn't smiling as he pulled the necklaces and his top over his head, throwing everything rather carelessly to the side, his eyes then glued to Naruto's as he promptly lowered his pants and kicked them away, then removing his sandals. He didn't seem to mind the stony ground under his feet.

Naruto gaped as he took in his friend's well-built form, fascinated by the way the fire light made that milky skin seem almost made of silk in spite of the multiple scars that adorned it. His reddened cock was proudly erected and Naruto's eyes lingered there for a while, but Sasuke didn't really give him time to appreciate the view enough because, once again, he extended his hand to him, who eagerly took it and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet.

They shared a look. Then, arms surrounded his neck, and Naruto all but tilted his head to the side to receive that luscious mouth again, his hands wasting no time in running a path up Sasuke's sides, then down his strong back, stopping at his ass cheeks, which he grabbed to pull him closer so they were pressed together. But Sasuke, on his part, broke the kiss again to help divest him of his t-shirt, also throwing it away without a care in the world before unceremoniously gluing their mouths together once more.

Naruto reveled in the new found contact of their chests pressed against each other. He loved the feel of Sasuke's skin on his – it was unlike anything he had ever felt before they had started doing this, and it was exhilarating beyond words. Sasuke started a fast, rough movement of his hips that effectively caused his leaking member to brush against his friend's still clothed one, forcing a moan out of the blond before they proceeded kissing hungrily for a while, slurping noises echoing in the small space, their breaths short and anxious.

And then Sasuke was grabbing for the waist of his pants and tugging them down, and Naruto knew that, once again, there was no turning back. Sometimes he wished he could have the strength to stop, but other times he just… knew he couldn't. He didn't want to. Because that was all he had – all Sasuke would probably ever give him – and he'd take it for what it was, even if, in the end, the aftertaste would definitely be bitter.

ooo

"Ah, shit..." Naruto groaned, sinking his teeth into his bottom lip as a powerful wave of pleasure ran through his body with Sasuke's repetitive hitting on that special spot inside of him. He blinked at the stony wall of the cave in front of him, trying to focus his blurry vision but being unable to. His hands flat against its cold surface, his fingers were sprawled as sweat trickled down his forehead and his arms from the assault of sensation as well as the heat coming from the bonfire behind them. He could feel Sasuke's hands raking possessively over his slick back and then caressing his sides. His body then leaned down, chest against Naruto's shoulder blades, lips pressing themselves to his nape before nibbling on the skin even though the thrusting kept its steady, ruthless pacing.

It was hard to breathe, and more and more Naruto's lungs constricted and his heart thudded painfully harder and the pleasure coiled in the pit of his stomach, ready to blow itself out of him any moment now. He could never get over how overwhelmingly good it all felt.

Fuck, he wanted so badly to be able to see Sasuke and touch him – he needed it, needed to breathe the same air he breathed because it felt like he'd die of asphyxiation if he didn't.

"Sasuke…" he moaned urgently, but it sounded more like a whine, a plea, his chin meeting his chest in anticipation. He was so close. "Fuck…"

Of course, Sasuke knew him all too well because he understood what Naruto wanted without him having to say anything else. However, it seemed like the blond was out of luck. "No," Sasuke panted, speeding up his pace even more as his nails buried themselves on Naruto's hips, forming small moon shaped bruises there. "I'm too close…"

And sure enough, before Naruto could even begin to voice his protests, Sasuke was already dropping all his weight upon his back once more, his right hand reaching around his waist to wrap his fingers around the blonde's cock and pump it erratically with his thrusts. The words got stuck in Naruto's throat.

Fuck. With Sasuke's free fingers now gripping his hair, his mind went blank, and all he could hear was the other's heavy, shaky breathing as he felt Sasuke's own cock pulsing inside of him, warmth filling him before the world burst into pure ecstasy and all he could do was gasp and shudder violently as he rode his own orgasm, clumsily trying to meet Sasuke's final thrusts in him for a few last seconds, and his seed splashed all over Sasuke's hand and dusty ground beneath him.

The few seconds it took for them to come to their senses had Naruto realizing his arms were shaking and his head was pounding with the pump of adrenaline rushing through his veins. His knees hurt like hell because of the small sticks and pebbles beneath them that had surely scratched them pretty badly. He could feel Sasuke's forehead resting at the top of his spine, his quick breathing warm against his damped skin. Still, he felt so good he could just stay like that forever – he didn't feel like moving at all.

Unavoidably, Sasuke ended up sighing once he had calmed down enough, lazily biting down on Naruto's right shoulder before moving away and carefully slipping out of him, causing Naruto to cringe a bit at how sensitive his anus felt.

"Such a mess…" Sasuke commented plainly, as Naruto moved carefully to a sitting position, his back against the wall. He felt himself floating in spite of his shaky muscles. There was cum leaking out from his insides and he knew he was pretty dirty everywhere, but he didn't really care about it.

With narrowed eyes, Naruto watched his friend move closer so he was sitting beside him, their naked sides pressed close, before eyeing his soiled right hand casually. Naruto's eyes widened when Sasuke brought said hand to his mouth and started to lick it clean of Naruto's cum. His pink tongue flicked out to connect with the palm first moving upwards to the tip of his middle finger, causing Naruto's heart – that had already come to a steady beat – to quicken impossibly once more, especially when Sasuke's deep orbs found his sky blue ones and he smirked a bit.

"See, why do you do that?" Naruto replied, faking annoyance as Sasuke sucked on his index finger languidly, his eyebrows quirking upwards in apparent innocence. "You do stuff like that and then wonder why I'm horny all the time."

"Maybe I like it that you're horny all the time," Sasuke muttered simply, before sucking on his thumb casually.

Feeling his cheeks catch fire, Naruto bit his lip and looked away, to the burning fire in front of him.

Next to him, Sasuke heaved a long sigh, leaning his head back against the wall. For a few minutes, they sat in silence, listening to the sounds of the fire while Naruto tried not to pay too much attention to Sasuke's breathing beside him or how simply sitting next to each other completely naked shouldn't feel so damned casual and nice. Even in such a place, without a single element of comfort, it just felt right.

That kind of right was something Naruto didn't get anywhere else. It didn't matter if they were fucking in a bed of needles, fighting or arguing. Every single thing he and Sasuke did together was just theirs and just it. If he could, he'd trade all the comfort he had in his apartment in Konoha for a chance to have this every single day of his life.

But it was too much to ask, and he would never dare to. He had long since accepted that their paths were different and that demanding things from Sasuke would only hurt both of them. He knew better than being selfish at this point.

"Happy birthday," Sasuke said, after a while, causing Naruto's heart to speed up considerably in sudden joy.

"Thanks," Naruto replied, without looking at the other male. "I didn't think you'd remember."

Sasuke's muscles tensed for a fraction of a second before relaxing again. "Do you know when my birthday is?"

Naruto shook his head, feeling a bit guilty. "I know it's somewhere around July, but I'm not sure which day."

"It's on the 23rd."

To say that he was surprised by the willingly given information was an understatement, but Naruto felt grateful for it, even though he didn't understand why Sasuke was providing it in the first place. Maybe he wanted him to remember it, he considered hopefully. However, it seemed impossible coming from someone who had claimed he wanted to be alone for all eternity while being hated by the whole world.

But Sasuke, it seemed, no longer had that ideology. After all, he was there, with him, wasn't he?

"I'll keep that in mind," was all Naruto said, looking at his friend from the corner of his eye, and finding an attentive gaze on him. He swallowed hard but decided to not look away this time, turning his head so he was looking at the other properly. "Well… happy birthday to you, too."

Sasuke snorted. "Don't you think it's a little too late for that?" he asked, now looking slightly amused.

"It's never too late in my book as long as it's said with meaning," Naruto retorted, allowing a small smile to grace his lips as he, too, leaned his head back against the wall.

Silence settled once more, unavoidably, but they didn't break the eye contact. After a while, Sasuke spoke, his voice grave but in almost a whisper. "You always look like you want to say something whenever we meet," he commented, perceptively. "Yet, you never do. It's not like you to keep things to yourself."

Naruto stuck his joined hands between his thighs, heaving a long sigh. "Yeah, I suppose that's true," he admitted with a shrug of his shoulders, causing them to rub against Sasuke's. "There are many things I want to say, but I guess I kind of… don't see a point in speaking my mind anymore. Not when it comes to us, I mean, because I'm sure you already know what's on my mind."

"I don't," Sasuke said, with a small frown. "Tell me."

"There's no point," Naruto contradicted, now with a small pout.

"There might be," Sasuke insisted.

"There isn't."

Sasuke straightened his back and turned to him, narrowing his eyes almost threateningly. "I don't want you of all people saying that," he hissed, to Naruto's surprise. "Tell me."

Naruto considered him for a while, vaguely wondering why this was such a big deal to him when he never really cared to know Naruto's thoughts on their little affair – if it could even be considered that – before.

"I guess I just… wonder about you," the blond ended up admitting, with a defeated sigh. "I mean… I know you're obviously okay, but I wish you'd tell me about your life and what you're doing with it. I wish I could ask you questions knowing you'd answer. I wish…"

He stopped himself, feeling uncomfortable all of sudden. He could already feel his emotions bubbling inside him, begging to be unleashed. Naruto knew that, once he started speaking about his feelings there would be no stopping him, but Sasuke didn't seem pleased by the hesitation, immediately asking "What?"

"Nothing," Naruto mumbled, turning his face to the side.

Sasuke, however, didn't seem to want to let him off the hook so easily, because he grabbed for his chin and forced his head to face him again. "Say it."

"I wish you didn't have to be alone!" Naruto snapped, unable to stop himself. "And you don't want to anymore, do you, Sasuke? I don't want you to be, I never did." He shoved Sasuke's hand away from his face, feeling frustrated. "I wish we didn't do this just through our clones..."

There, he had said it, and now he was sure he was going to throw his heart up and that Sasuke would either throw some terrible remark his way or leave.

"I am not alone," Sasuke said instead, coolly, eyes scanning over his features as if evaluating him. "You know that as much as I do. But we don't belong in the same world, Naruto, even if, in your head, you probably think we somehow belong together." Naruto 'tsked', looking away again, but Sasuke was now grabbing his head with both hands, preventing him for turning away, and in spite of himself, he found his eyes meeting dark, intense ones. "I don't feel like we need to be side by side, and what you don't know about me are things you're definitely better off not knowing."

"I've seen the worst of you!" Naruto hissed, feeling hurt by those words. "How can you possibly say something like that when…"

"We are what we are, and I'm done denying it," Sasuke cut, ruthlessly. "If, indeed, we came down to this, then there is an obvious reason for it. It's no use talking about feelings or wishes. You know mine, I know yours. For me, that's enough, as it should be for you."

How could he say that? How could Sasuke just tell him to 'compromise' when he had been chasing after him for so long? When all he had ever wanted – all he needed to be truly happy, really – was to have his best friend near him?

"What exactly do you want from me, Sasuke?" he muttered, in a more resentful way than he had expected to show. "I understand you, but at the same time…"

"I never asked anything of you," Sasuke said, releasing his head now that he was sure Naruto wouldn't try to avoid his gaze. "You come to me because you want to. I give you a choice, and you do what you feel like you should do."

"Because I want to see you!" Naruto yelled, rolling his eyes in exasperation, because, really, that should be fucking obvious for Sasuke. "I always do! If you're around, blatantly announcing yourself, I…"

"My not killing you, Naruto, wasn't so we could be together, happily ever after!" Sasuke contradicted, now sounding angry himself. "Your existence pains me. It was always about 'us' and it will always be. But there is no 'us' in the future. You know that. There is just you, and me, and this. Not the sex. This. And this can never be manifested in more ways than sex. Do you understand?"

"I understand alright," Naruto retorted, crossing his arms over his chest. "But do you want it? Seeing me in person? Being with me? Because everything you're saying is logical and makes sense, all things considered, but I'm asking you what you want."

"Does it even matter what I want?" Sasuke sounded almost surprised by this.

"It matters to me," Naruto insisted, stubbornly.

"Well, it shouldn't," Sasuke hissed, making a reproachful face. "You'll get nothing accomplished."

Naruto all but groaned in frustration. "You wanted me to talk, so I told you my thoughts and my sincere feelings. The least you could do is be honest!"

"It won't change anything!"

"But still!"

"We chose this, Naruto!" There was more than anger in Sasuke's voice, now, almost as if he felt confused or overwhelmed by the sudden longing in Naruto's words, but the blond didn't care since he had been the one to ask for it. "We're here for a reason! I make my presence announced for a reason! But you want Konoha and being Hokage and that's your choice. That choice doesn't involve me, just like my choice of life doesn't involve you. It is what it is."

With his mouth slightly open, Naruto stared at him for a few seconds, disbelievingly. So, what, Sasuke was frustrated as well about how things had turned out for them in the end? What the hell did that mean?

He guessed he should feel glad that Sasuke was at least acknowledging his own actions, but somehow, that made him as sad as it made him happy.

"What do you want from me?" Sasuke asked this time, shaking his head from side to side as if he couldn't comprehend it at all, even though, Naruto considered, he probably did. He had to.

But maybe he didn't want to consider it. Maybe attributing a name, a feeling to it was just too much for Sasuke to deal with.

"I just... I want you," Naruto replied, gesturing towards Sasuke with a hand and ending up smashing the back of it against Sasuke's naked chest. "I always did. Not just like this, but just... you. Life is... so hard without you in it, Sasuke, and you don't get it..."

But the stunned look on the Uchiha's handsome face, Naruto had guessed correctly.

"Shut up," he said, "Fuck, Naruto, just shut up..."

"I know it's not possible, but is it so wrong of me to want you?" Naruto pressed on, also moving quickly so he was on his knees, facing his best friend, whose eyes had widened a bit. "No one is like you, Sasuke! We are like this and I just feel helpless because I wish this was real and that you'd come to me on your own and that we could just be together and you could belong to... me..."

His own words died in his throat as he realized exactly where they were headed, and even though their meaning wasn't news to him, voicing them added another sort of impact to their arguing.

"What?" Sasuke demanded, almost venomously. It wasn't as if his tone had intimidated Naruto, but at the same time, he knew that there would be no turning back from this if he said exactly what was on his mind.

"I..."

"Say it…" Sasuke pressed on, also getting on his knees and bringing his hands to both Naruto's arms to grab them forcefully. The intensity in those grey eyes took him by surprise and fascination.

"I..."

"Say it, damn it!"

Well, fuck it.

"Even from a distance, I want you to be mine!" Naruto yelled, and he felt sickened by it, not with guilt or embarrassment, but with fear of losing Sasuke forever; but he couldn't stop himself now that everything was leaving his mouth so helplessly. "If you were mine I wouldn't have to wonder and fucking kill myself with doubt. I'd wait for you! Hell, I'd go to you if you wanted me to! I'd wait. Because we can't be together now, but maybe someday..." Again, he was left breathless by the overflow of emotions within him, so he forced air into his lungs. "If you were mine I'd make you happy! I would…"

But Sasuke had pulled him close, violently smashing his mouth against his in a ferocious gesture that was nothing but a clumsy attempt at kissing, and in spite of being angry and tired and just plainly overwhelmed, Naruto found his arms around Sasuke's torso and his own mouth responding with an insatiable thirst he couldn't seem to be able to quell, biting and slurping and just drinking as much as he could.

And then, Sasuke was pulling away, immediately attacking his neck, sucking on it as if his life depended on it.

"You are crazy..." Sasuke panted against his skin, moving down as he pressed hungry kisses down his chest. "You are so, unbelievably, stupidly crazy…"

"I'm not!" Naruto protested breathlessly, but as Sasuke trailed a luscious, desperate path of open-mouthed pecks down his body, he found that his brain was quickly shutting down and he had no idea what he had been angry at before, or scared by, or anything, for that matter.

"Shut up," Sasuke ordered, and Naruto did just that.

There was no winning this battle anymore.

ooo

With a sharp intake of breath, Naruto's eyes opened wide and he woke up with a start as his clone dispersed and all its knowledge and memories assaulted him like a tidal wave. The sudden overflow of sensations and feelings made him sit up straight at once, heat flooding him from head to toe. However, he didn't have time to delve on his own emotions and thoughts because he was suddenly very aware of a distinct, very familiar chakra signature that had purposefully been subdued so as to not make itself be noticed by others, but it was close.

Instinctively, he looked to the side, towards the wide opened window, and indeed, there was a figure there, sitting next to him on the edge of the bed – a figure he would recognize anywhere.

Sasuke…

Not a clone; the real Sasuke. Completely dressed in his heavy traveling clothes, a Katana strapped to his back, the Rinnegan and Sharingan in his eyes both glowing slightly in the darkened room since, apparently, dawn hadn't arrived yet.

Naruto's heart hammered inside his chest at his friend's unexpected presence. He wasn't sure what Sasuke was doing there, but if the clones had only dispersed now, that that meant that he had been there before they had dispelled themselves.

Was Sasuke there to kill him? How long had he been there? It was one thing meeting with clones, because they knew they couldn't physically harm each other, but coming face to face like this…

Sasuke hadn't killed him before, but he could've well have when Naruto was asleep.

Why hadn't he?

Then again… he hadn't killed him before when he had had the chance, either, and in a time when he had truly meant it because he had thought that was the only way to live life the way he wanted to. Because Naruto had meant so much to him, had been the light that had threatened his desired path of darkness.

Naruto wasn't sure which path was Sasuke taking now, but somehow, he knew that it wasn't that. Deep down, he liked to believe that Sasuke enjoyed that light and was now using it as a strength instead.

He could barely breathe as he blinked several times to make sure he wasn't dreaming.

When Sasuke nimbly moved to slide closer, Naruto watched his every gesture, anticipation filling him as the other male reached out to him with a hand and touched his cheek. It wasn't even a caress, and yet, as soon as Sasuke leaned in until their noses were touching and their mouths were so close the tips of their lips brushed ever so slightly, Naruto instantly let his guard down.

Realizing it, Sasuke smirked. "You fool," he whispered, before pressing his mouth fully against Naruto's in a simple, but meaningful kiss. It was nothing but a press of lips, almost chaste, but it lasted for a few seconds, enough for Naruto to be able to place his hand over Sasuke's shoulder and feel him. For some reason, it felt special because it was as real as it could get.

That was the real Sasuke. His Sasuke. His soulmate, his family, his meaning in life. Not a clone.

They pulled away with a soft suction noise, and yet, their faces were still close – so close, in fact, that Naruto could smell his friend's earthy but clean scent and it filled him with contentment.

"Sasuke…" Naruto whispered, fist closing tightly around the fabric of the other's cloak. "I…"

"Don't," Sasuke interrupted firmly, in an equally low tone, moving away slightly so he was looking directly at Naruto's face with a light frown. "I already know your feelings, as you know mine. That's all there is to it, and that's all I need to know. It should be enough for you, too."

Swallowing hard, Naruto bit on his lower lip and nodded, even if he couldn't help the stinging in his eyes – from longing, from joy, he didn't really know, but it didn't matter. He should've known better than to hope at this point.

Still, he didn't stop himself from nudging his cheek against Sasuke's palm before the contact was broken. He forced his fingers to relax and release the fabric over the other's shoulder, letting his hand fall to his lap, and Sasuke stood, tall and proud, and took a second to fix his clothes. Then, he turned to the window and climbed it so he was crouching down as his feet were firmly settled on the windowsill.

Naruto had the urge to say something, to ask him to stay, even if for a few more minutes, but he was aware that the last Uchiha standing was already taking too much risk walking inside Konoha himself.

"I…" he uttered, clenching his hands over his thighs, looking at Sasuke's back resolutely. "Thank you. For coming, I mean. And for remembering my birthday."

Sasuke's shoulders tensed again, and for a few seconds, there was nothing but silence between them. Then, Sasuke spoke. "'If you were mine, I'd make you as happy as I could,'" he said plainly without turning, repeating Naruto's clone's words from not too long ago. "Is that what you want? To tell you to wait for me? To demand your exclusiveness? Even though we only see each other once in a blue moon and even though meeting personally is too dangerous?"

Naruto licked at his lips at the sudden dryness in them, expectancy and hope filling him from head to toe, and he knew that now was the time to talk – to say what he truly wanted – because Sasuke wouldn't give him another chance. Even if it was useless, it wasn't like he had anything to lose anymore.

"What if it is?" he said, with more confidence than he felt, but strangely sure of himself. "I don't care where you are or what you're doing as long as you're alive. As you said, we already know what we mean… what this means. If you tell me to wait… if you… want it like I do… even from a distance…" Naruto stopped to take a breath. "… ask me and I'll always wait."

"Would that make you happy?" Sasuke asked in a murmur. "Even with all the obstacles…"

"Maybe all I need is reassurance," Naruto was the one who interrupted him this time. "Maybe it would make both of us happy if we knew that expecting this is a sure thing instead of me constantly wondering if you'll ever come for me again, or of you wondering if I'll ever show up. We may not be literally together, but that doesn't mean we can't be together."

He could hear Sasuke heave a long, heavy sigh. However, when he spoke, there was definitely a smile gracing his grave, seductive voice. "Well… I guess you better make your promises worth my time," he said, almost teasingly. "I'll be in Rice Country in two weeks. If you happen to be around, I might consider not sending my clone for once."

This being said, Sasuke vanished in a discreet puff of smoke, leaving Naruto to stare at the empty space he had occupied.

Without being able to stop himself, Naruto felt the corners of his lips twitch upwards to form a huge smile.

Did Sasuke just…? Did they just…?

He brought the tips of his fingers to his lips, where he could still feel the distinctiveness of Sasuke's kiss there. It was so weird how, for some reason, it felt so unbelievably different and new, as if their clones hadn't kissed dozens of times before, shared so much more and done so much more.

But what had once been a dream was now becoming real. The real Sasuke had come for him, and he had kissed him. In spite of everything, he had wanted the real thing as much as Naruto had, reason why he went there to see him. On his birthday.

And now, it was the beginning of yet another something between them – something old, but also something very new. Even from a distance, even if the absence would hurt – but then again, hadn't it always? –, at least now they knew they both wanted that exclusiveness and that they would live for it.

And Naruto knew for sure that neither would break that unspoken vow, even if they never really got to be together as he wished – as they should.

Still, Naruto thought, grinning widely. He got exactly what he wanted for his birthday.

The End


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