To say that Naruto was akin to a shivering chihuahua, being stared down by a doberman with rabies in an enclosed alleyway, was an understatement.
"You weren't this indecisive when you went on your date with Hinata." Gaara pointed out from his spot on Naruto's bed. It was Saturday evening, specifically only a few minutes before Sasuke was supposed to pick the blonde up. Said blonde had called out his sleep deprived friend in a state of panic, unsure of what to wear or how to act, or… anything, really.
"Well yeah, but that's… that's 'cause…" Naruto trailed off when he glanced over at Gaara, whohad his invisible eyebrow raised to give him a look. A look, that told Naruto he should probably stop now before he said something stupid about his future cousin in law.
"A-anyway, ya gotta help me, Gaara! He's gonna be here any minute and I still have no idea what to wear!" He called out in exasperation, once again burying himself under a mountain of clothes from his closet. Too small, too formal, not formal enough, too… pink. When the hell did he get himself a pink pair of pants?
"His opinion of you is not going to change regardless of what you wear." The red head noted coolly, tapping away on a laptop dedicated for work seated on top of green pajama bottoms. Naruto groaned.
"Well… yeah maybe not, but I still wanna look good!" He said with a pout. He pulled out a bright orange button-up, seriously considering it. As much as he liked the looks of it, though, the threw it into the no-go pile and continued looking.
"Why can't I just borrow one of your shirts? You've got plenty of cool things to wear!" Naruto huffed, finding a black pair of slacks that he threw onto his bed. Finally, he had half of an outfit picked out!
"Because you are almost a foot taller than me, and have more muscle mass."
"Details!" Naruto flopped backwards into the pile of clothes, having already gone through his entire shirt collection. This wasn't working!
Great. Just perfect. Naruto glanced up to Gaara, giving the man puppy dug eyes in hopes that it would convince his best friend to buy him more time. Jade eyes seemed unwaivered, though, and with a groan Naruto plucked a random shirt out of the pile to slip on. It was a bright lemon yellow piece.
Oh well. He had worse.
He jammed the t-shirt on over his head, quickly grabbing the black slacks as he unceremoniously tumbled out of the room. Temari was gone, and thus he felt no shame in doing a jerk dance through the living room, zipping and buttoning his pants right before getting the door.
Oh God. Maybe being overdressed would've been the right way to dress after all, if Sasuke's sleek suit was anything to go by. Sasuke glanced at him, arms folded with a slender eyebrow arching upwards.
"Couldn't find anything to wear?"
"Shut up, bastard." Naruto mumbled, moving out of the way so that said bastard could come in for a minute. He expected the Uchiha to make some snarky retort about how he was dressed. Instead, he went cross-eyed as he was casually presented with a single, freshly cut red rose.
"Hey, I'm not one to judge. You look good in anything you do or don't wear." Sasuke noted with a sly smirk. Ah, there it was. Naruto grumbled, any hint of hope that he would get out of this unscathed being thrown out the window. He begrudgingly took the rose, inspecting it with his eyebrows furrowed.
"Are you try'na tell me somethin' with this? I'm not a girl, you know." Naruto commented. Even with the slight offense, the blonde moved into the kitchen and put it in a small vase lying around.
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "You don't have to be a girl to give and receive nice gifts, idiot. That's just the stereotypical idealism that heterosexuals try to force onto people."
"Well… yeah, I guess that's true, but why a rose of all things?" Naruto asked, filling up the vase with water. This time it was Sasuke's turn to get flustered, his cheeks tinging pink as his lips pressed into a thin, hard line.
"W-well I wanted to bring you something. It's simple- look, let's just go?" He asked, and Naruto couldn't help but snicker. His manager was flustered about something, and that alone was a rare sight.
Why was he so flustered, though? The blonde had to make it his mission to find out at some point.
It seemed Sasuke pulled out all the stops. His sleek black car had been washed, probably right after the two of them got out of work two hours prior. Not to mention the fact that the raven had been quick to walk ahead of Naruto, only to turn and open the passenger's seat for his date.
"Wow, Sasuke. I didn't know you could be a chivalrous bastard!" Naruto teased, earning a light whack to the head as he climbed in.
"Hn. You also didn't seem to think I was dateable, either." He noted, closing Naruto's door as he rounded to the other side. He pretended not to notice the glare that the blonde was giving him.
"Hope you're not allergic to seafood." The raven haired male noted as he sat so elegantly in the driver's seat. He had no shame changing the subject as they pulled out of the driveway. Naruto went to comment but ended up only shaking his head, his words dying as nerves began to pick up.
This was really happening. He was going out on a date with Sasuke Uchiha. His manager, local bastard… and in a lot of ways, his best friend.
The drive was uncomfortable for Naruto, even with the radio and heater deafening the silence. He fiddled with the hem of his neon yellow shirt, thoughts going a million miles a minute, mostly about how he didn't want to screw things up. The silence didn't go unnoticed by Sasuke, though, who was used to a blonde that would babble nonstop.
"Hey. You know this isn't any different from us hanging out together. Just a little fancier." Sasuke told him, moving a piece of his blonde hair out of his eyes to help ease some of his nerves. Said blonde only swallowed, nodding again as he looked down to his hands in his lap.
"Sorry. I just… know that this is something you've looked forward to for a long time. Kinda don't wanna screw it up, heh…" He chuckled dryly, the humor lacking in his eyes. Glancing over to his friend, Sasuke sighed and moved his hand to massage the back of his neck.
"You won't screw this up, usuratonkachi. Just be yourself and have fun. If you decide that this isn't your thing, it's not the end of the world."
Naruto hummed, both in response to his comment and that fact that Sasuke was working his beautiful magic on the knots in his neck. He blamed the tenseness on the fact that he was scrunched up either on the couch or the bed for almost a whole week. Working overtime two days in a row didn't help with that, either.
Why did Sasuke's touch have to be so godly?
One car ride and short massage later, Naruto was in much brighter spirits as they pulled into the parking lot. When he felt the car come to a halt he rolled his shoulders, feeling the popping release of hi shoulders and back. A small smile graced his now relaxed face as he finally opened his eyes.
"Hmm? Where are we?" The blonde asked, taking in his unfamiliar surroundings. There was a grey business building in front of them with sleek, tinted windows. There was no way to see inside from the outside.
Sasuke smirked, not giving his date a verbal answer as he climbed out of the car. Instead he maneuvered around the car to get Naruto's door, holding out a hand in confidence.
"I told you, dobe. It's a seafood restaurant. We've already got reserved seating." He said with a chuckle. Naruto deadpanned at the vague answer, taking the raven's hand non-too-lightly as he once again looked over at the large building.
"Seems pretty fancy…"
"It is fancy. Everything that my father owns is fancy." Naruto did a double take at Sasuke's statement, blinking a few times in disbelief. The youngest Uchiha only rolled his eyes, dragging Naruto by the arm to the front.
"Is there a place in this city that your dad doesn't own? I mean he already owns a whole freiken' mall." He muttered, feeling more intimidated by the second as soon as the roped entrance came into view. They came to a brief halt, Sasuke looking up at the security guard with an expectant look.
"Good to see you, mister Uchiha." The security guard said curtly as he unhooked the thick, red rope. 'Hn' was the only answer the youngest Uchiha gave as the couple walked inside, hands still firmly clasped together.
Neither of them missed the disappointed stare that the guard gave them. Only Sasuke chose to ignore it.
"Ah, Uchiha-san! We've got your usual spot in the back all cleaned and ready for you." Naruto turned his attention to the woman leading the front of house, a stark contrast to the guard outside in attitude. Her smiling gaze turned to Naruto, a hidden excitement in their depths.
"Ah, you must be Naruto-kun! It's good to finally meet you. Both Sasuke and Itachi have mentioned you many times." She greeted him with a small bow and a smile, earning a blush from the blue-eyed male.
"I-It's nice to meet you, too." He stuttered out, mentally kicking himself. He worked with different people on a daily basis, why was talking to this woman so difficult!? Was it because she worked at such a fancy establishment? He needed to get a grip on himself.
"It's good to see you, Mae. Thank you for setting up the table for us." Sasuke said politely, his face sliding into what Naruto came to call the 'cool ass business-y' face. Usually he only had that face when he was around people he was obligated to be polite to.
The more he thought about it, the more Naruto realized it was the face Sasuke had on that small smirk and straight-eye the majority of the time. Very rarely did he show how he truly felt about a person or situation. It made the blonde's heart beat faster as they were ushered into the back, knowing that he was one of the few people who actually got to see him vulnerable.
The restaurant was packed for dinner service. People of high social standings were littered all over the floor, for the most part minding their own business. It didn't stop Naruto from feeling eyes staring at the back of his head, which blended in perfectly with his lemon-colored tshirt.
He really should have changed before they left... but it was too late to worry about that now.
When Mae took them up the spiral staircase and around a corner it was a completely different feel. It was actually quiet enough to hear the piano music playing in the background, the walls lined with candles that gave the area a warm feeling. It opened up into a privet room, possibly the VIP section that was completely set up for their date.
Naruto's jaw went slack. He had never, ever been on a date this fancy before in his life. He didn't think he knew anyone who could afford a date this fancy. His voice caught in his throat as he glanced over to Sasuke, who seemed mildly pleased at the way the room was set up.
"Beautiful as always, Mae. You've really outdone yourself this time." He told her, sitting down in one of the cream-colored, comfortable looking chairs as he beckoned Naruto to join him. It took every bit of willpower for him to take that first step into the plush white carpeted room and sit across from the Uchiha.
There was a small group of sculpted orange and blue candles in the middle of the table. They surrounded yet another single red rose, nestled neatly in a crystal vase. To the right of the décor was a bottle of unopened chilled wine, which for the carpet's sake Naruto hoped was white.
"This is insane." The blonde whispered to Sasuke while Mae set the table. Of course, she was setting it up with all the formal bells and whistles. He was sure that half of those forks wouldn't be touched tonight, and the poor dishwasher would have to wash them anyway.
Sasuke's small smirk became just a little wider as he watched the blonde, nodding courteously to Mae as she left to give them some privacy. Hetook the bottle of wine in one hand and Naruto's glass in another, pouring a generous glass for the blonde.
"Not really. Fancy can get old really fast when you've lived with it your entire life." The young Uchiha explained, pouring his own glass and took a sip, glancing out the window at the beautiful sunset view.
"Yeah, but not everyone gets the luxury of being born in a rich family." Naruto huffed, sniffing the- unfortunately red- wine before taking a sip of his own. He scrunched up his nose a little, not used to the taste as he pushed it away from him. What exactly was he doing here, anyway?
"It's not the sunshine and daisies that people seem to think it is, Naruto. Either way, it's an experience that everyone should have at least once. I've only got one shot at impressing you, so I figure go big or go home." He said, taking another sip of his drink.
"We coulda just gone and saw that new Jurassic movie instead…" Naruto grumbled, once again taking in the entirety of the luxurious room. Even if it was just the two of them, he somehow still managed to feel uncomfortable and out of place, smaller than someone who, up until that point he had considered to be equals with.
"We can still do that if you want. Being honest impressing you was only half the reason I wanted to come and eat here tonight." He said, making Naruto's curiosity pique as he furrowed his blonde eyebrows. Sasuke shot him another charming smile, swallowing down more of his wine before resting his elbows on the table.
"Father's been under the impression that Itachi and I are going to just blindly do as he wishes for the rest of our lives. Bringing you here as my date is bound to piss him off." The Uchiha stated. Naruto's eyebrows furrowed even more, this time in anger as he stood up with his palms flat on the table.
"So what, I'm some kind of statement now? Just to get back at daddy dearest for bein' a pain in the ass!?" He asked, watching his date's amused gaze from over the table. Naruto let out a small growl, sneering a bit as Sasuke just shrugged and leaned back in his chair.
"This is a statement, yeah. This is me stating to both you and him that I want you. That I'm not going to marry some female business intern from the states while running the company in Itachi's shadow. I want you to know that all of this is stuff I would gladly give up for you, Naruto."
The blonde blinked, his face falling back into curiosity as Sasuke explained what he was doing. He looked around the place a third time, blush slowly rising as he slowly sank back into his seat.
"D-on't 'cha think that's kinda a bold statement for a first date?" Naruto asked, quick to down his glass of wine before the waiter came to take their order. He was grateful that Sasuke took charge of all that, his mind flitting in too many ways to really speak in the moment. He was trying not to make noise, his eyes landing on the single rose in the middle of the table once the server turned to leave.
"Maybe, but it's the truth. You deserve to know just how much you're cared about after your last relationship." The Uchiha said, amusement no longer reaching his eyes as he let out a sigh.
"It's not like we're total strangers. Coworkers don't usually hang out outside of work every week, or do you and Deidara have a thing we don't know about?" Naruto didn't miss the amusement once again in the bastard's eyes, rolling his own as he poured another glass of wine.
"Ehh well… I mean… uhh… maybe once? Nah, that was somebody else… okay okay you got a point, but still! This is a date, this is all that romance bullcrap! I still don't even know if I bat for your team or not!" Naruto noted, finally whining as he ran his hands through his hair. This was all so frustrating, and the smug Uchiha didn't even try to make it better. Damn rich bastard…
"It's okay, Naruto. You don't have to make a decision any time soon. Just relax and enjoy yourself, don't think about all of this too hard. Or did you forget that part already?" He asked, chuckling at Naruto's pout.
"Sure, yeah, enjoy myself while you openly flaunt me to your family like we're gonna go elope soon. Real fun!" Naruto took his second glass of wine and gulped it down as well, starting to feel the warmth spread over him. His visible pout became more prominent when Sasuke reached over the table, the feeling of cold, pale fingers swiping over his forehead.
"You're cute when you're mad, dobe."
"Oh shut it, bastard." Naruto snipped back. He made no move to get away from Sasuke, though, his fingers feeling nice against his warm, swimming head. It must've been the lingering effects of the flu causing him to lean forward…
"Hn. Make me." Sasuke said with a smirk, his fingers moving forward to caress the blonde's cheek gently. Why did he have to do that? Naruto folded his arms, still defiant even when his head leaned to the side, letting the pale hand cradle his head gently.
Yup. Definitely had to be the flu still rearing its head.
Despite all of his mental turmoil, he found himself missing the man's touch as the sound of tapping shoes alerted them of the waiter coming around the bend. He shifted in his seat, quietly thanking him for their food as he poured the rest of the bottle of wine in his glass.
"Guess it's a good thing that I only ordered one bottle." Sasuke joked, adding to it as he took a sip of his still first glass of wine once the waiter was gone.
"It takes more than a little wine to get me drunk, teme." He retorted, this time taking his time with the drink as he looked down at the small dish in front of him. Ahh hell, it was one of those four-course type things, too.
"So what's the deal with the whole 'single rose' thing, anyway? You never really explained it." He asked, making a point to loudly slurp his soup while gesturing to the centerpiece of the table. Sasuke was quiet for a long moment, whether it was because of the question or his slurping the blonde didn't bother to ask.
"…Roses are beautiful flowers with a deep meaning. If you're not careful though, they can hurt you, even if they're only protecting themselves." He said, moving to put his thumb and pointer around the single rose. There was a big thorn, but the young Uchiha wasn't even phased as he sliced his thumb on it.
He licked the blood off his thumb, glancing back out at the slowly disappearing sunset in thought. Somehow, the blonde couldn't help but be drawn to that look… that hidden sadness that he could see clear as day. It took him a long moment to realize that he'd been staring, shaking his head as he stubbornly rested his head in his hand.
"Still don't get it, Sasuke. Seriously, how am I supposed to get all that girly mystery stuff?" He asked, swirling his drink as the waiter came through with the main course.
"Hn. Says the one who seems to think there's a deeper meaning to a flower in the first place." The Uchiha retorted, getting no response as he dug into his meal.
They both ended up eating their meals in comfort, with a few words exchanged here and there. Slowly, ever so slowly Naruto began to loosen up, the place where they were dining left forgotten in the presence of familiar company.
"So then Kiba's covered head to toe in dog slobber while Shikamaru is tracking down a hose, And we've only got three minutes before we had to finish our lunch. Needless to say, we all got detention for that." Naruto rambled, grinning as he slurped down the rest of his food with a content burp. He patted his stomach and sunk into the chair, waiving away the waiter when he asked about dessert.
"Nah, no thanks. I'm stuffed!" He exclaimed happily, closing his eyes. It was only after a long moment of silence that his eyes opened again, looking over the table at his brooding date.
"Hey, what's eatin' ya? Hello, Earth to Sasuke?" He called, waiving his tanned hand in front of the man's face. Sasuke took the opportunity to reach out and grab his wrist, looking up to him with a serious expression.
"Are you… really okay with this, Naruto? You're not just drunk?" He asked, causing a pair of blue eyes to widen. Was Sasuke, the Sasuke, actually nervous?
"Well… yeah. I mean sure it was pretty awkward there for a while, but… you're right. Your my friend first and I shouldn't really feel uncomfortable with that." He explained, using his free hand to scratch the back of his head with a small frown.
"You okay? Did I go TOO casual or somethin'? Wait, is that even possible?" He asked, his nerves once again rearing it's head. Sasuke, however, seemed to relax a bit, standing up as he moved to lace his fingers through the blonde's hand.
"It's nothing. Thanks for humoring me, dobe." He said, smirk turning into a genuine smile as he shuffled out of his seat. Naruto blushed again, copying the Uchiha's act of shuffling as his heart started to speed up.
"Sure, but uhh… I wasn't really… I actually had a great time, Sasuke." He finally blurted out, cheeks heating up even more. Seriously, what was this? He was no teenage schoolgirl, dammit!
Sasuke quirked an eyebrow at the mess of a blonde, any insecurities he had blowing out the window as he stepped forward. Naruto couldn't have seen it coming, not from a mile away with how utterly scattered he was. Still, when he did register what was happening, everything went still.
By far it wasn't the first kiss he'd ever had in his life. Sasuke's lips were thin and slightly chapped, moving against his in a way that he somehow found enticing. Pineapple, lobster, and cigarette smoke from when Sasuke slipped danced in his senses, making his mind blank for a moment.
Then, it kicked in high gear. Sasuke was kissing him. Instead of pushing him, tanned fingers pulled at the man's jacket sleeves. He ha so much he could blame it on, being sick, the alcohol flowing through his veins. But he knew that even if h had been in good health and stone cold sober he'd feel the same.
He wanted this. He wanted the man that his brain stubbornly labeled handsome, he wanted daily bickering that turned into makeup make-out sessions. He wanted to hound him about the fact he needed to quit smoking, wanted to be more than what they were. Yet still, even with all the things that had been presented to him as wants…
"S-sasuke…" He puffed out. He didn't know when his fingers became tangled in silky black hair, nor when the simple kiss had turned into a battle for dominance. It had only ended because their bodies needed air, and he took the moment to speak what was on his mind.
"Sasuke… I-I don't think I…"
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Naruto was brought out of his thoughts by the sound and vibrations of a phone, finally taking two measured steps back from Sasuke. The Uchiha's face was dark and impatient as he took the device out of his back pocket, answering it without much of an explanation.
"I'm busy." He answered, leaving Naruto to stew in everything that had just happened. Touching his lips the felt bruised and puffy, moreso than they'd ever been as he rocked on his heels.
Sasuke… was amazing. He was like his other half in so many ways, and somehow they just worked. It didn't surprise him that they were mistaken for a couple on the daily, even by customers that had never seen them before. It was believable. Scary… but believable. Even with that thought though, he still couldn't but feel like there was something missing. A hole in his big heart, one that not even Sasuke could fill.
What was he doing here?
"That was my father. He wants me to meet him at his office in twenty minutes. No exceptions or excuses." Sasuke said flatly, a dangerous look in his eyes. Naruto saw it for what it was, though, he was mad about their date being interrupted just like that. Naruto nodded, struggling to find words, so instead he grabbed the cuff of Sasuke's suit jacket.
"Well uh… hey that's okay! I'll call Gaara to pick me up, and uhh… we can maybe go to see Jurassic World… next weekend, then?" He asked timidly, knowing full well what he was implying.
At first glance, Sasuke looked mildly shocked at the offer. It was only after a good minute, likely giving Naruto a chance to back out before his face softened into a real smile.
"I'd like that a lot. See you on Monday, Naruto." Sasuke said, grabbing the check off the table to pay for dinner as he turned to leave the establishment. He had a real smile, even if front of all the guests and the staff, feeling as though this may have a chance of working after all.
Naruto watched him leave with a sigh, His own frown shrinking the longer he stood there. Sure, he knew now that he was attracted to Sasuke, but that still didn't change the fact that there was something… lacking. Something that he couldn't pin down on Sasuke or anybody really. Maybe it was the fact that he still wasn't fully over Sakura holding him down.
Though something told him that the feeling was something else.
Pulling out his own phone, he checked the time and unlocked the screen. He wasn't looking forward to explaining why Sasuke left to his friend, but it wasn't like his date had been given much of a choice.
"Huh?" Naruto blinked when his phone went off in his palm, having set the thing to vibrate for the evening. His face scrunched up when he realized that it was Itachi. Maybe Sasuke called and asked him for a ride home, instead?
Somehow, the thought made him feel more guilty than it should have. Nevertheless he slid over the green icon and put the device up to his ear.
"Hey, what's up Itachi?" He asked, feeling the cheeriness in his voice practically drip despite his spiraling mood. The blonde was in an odd state of limbo, not quite on cloud nine, but certainly not hitting rock bottom, either. It was almost as if he was floating.
"Good evening, Naruto. Are you ready to continue with your date?" The smooth voice on the other line asked him, confusing Naruto even more. Continue with the date?
"Uhh… I thought Sasuke had to go meet with your father." He said dumbly, walking around to exit the VIP section of the restaurant.
"He did. I'll be your date for the rest of the evening, if you're alright with that."
Suddenly the hole he was dangling over seemed more and more appealing.
A/N: another couple of months, another chapter. Oh well, butter luck next time I guess.
Meanwhile… that double date, tho. XD I hope that everyone enjoyed this chapter, I enjoyed writing the ending a lot. Hopefully I'll ACTUALLY be able to have the next chapter done by next week, not gonna hold my breath with how hectic things still are. Depression doesn't cure itself, especially not overnight.
Thank you all once again for reading! See ya next time!