A/N: Hello everyone! This is a new story I just began, inspired by the summer and heat and love. I hope you guys enjoy :) With this story, I don't really know where it's all going yet, although I do have a slight idea. This one is different, because it's all relatively flexible. Also, I've changed my writing style a bit. Just to experiment. Any suggestions/reviews are always welcome and taken into account (:
Part 1: Smile Like the Sky
His stomach growled impatiently as he eyed the pink slices of raw fish in front of him. He huffed, turning his head to yell, "Itachi! Hurry up!"
His father jumped, sending him a look that he pretended not to notice. "Sasuke, voice."
He opened his mouth to retort just as Itachi bounded in, all smiles, waving two sheets of paper in his hand. "I got accepted!"
His hunger is momentarily forgotten. He knew how much Itachi had wanted to get into the program despite his brother's attempts to downplay it all. "Congrats!"
"That's great," Mikoto's face lifted in delight as she took the papers and held them to her face. "A summer in the city. Oh, look! This is the student you're exchanged with. Naruto. He's handsome." She turned the second sheet around for everyone to see.
Itachi laughed. "I'll be staying at his place. Heart of the city."
Fugaku raised his eyebrows and nodded, "If the exchange goes well, maybe Sasuke can apply next year."
Sasuke rolled his eyes. He loved his brother, but the one year gap in age had given Itachi too much of a head start. The man was a fucking genius, and the shadow he cast on Sasuke was far too dark. He had long given up on stepping into the light.
"It'll be good to get out into the city," Mikoto nodded, looking pointedly at her youngest son.
He nodded. He and Itachi both attended the same university in their small village of Konoha. It was a small school, but a decent one. Nonetheless, their parents yearned for them to go to the city and see the world. Itachi wanted to. Sasuke didn't. He liked Konoha. It was small, peaceful. Not too many people. And he had a few good friends. What more could he possibly want?
The word bounced off a sharp tongue and reverberated through the air in an unfamiliarly deep, coarse voice. He could hear his parents laughing outside as they welcomed their new guest.
Itachi's summer exchange student.
His mother had mentioned his name once, during dinner all those weeks ago. He couldn't remember it now. He slammed his forehead into his open textbook and sighed. Glycolysis could wait. His father would not. His wooden chair screeched against the floor as he stood up and dragged himself down the stairs. Better to greet the guest now than to get an earful from his father later.
As he rounded the corner into the living room, Sasuke immediately wished he had paid more attention to the man's picture when his mother had waved it in his face all that time ago. That would have prepared him for the head of sunlight that now graced his home. He had to blink to adjust to it.
The man's back was facing him as he nodded his head along to Mikoto's words. As Sasuke made his way into the room, his mother briefly looked over the man's broad shoulder to acknowledge his presence. One glance was all it took—the man noticed and followed her gaze.
He hadn't been prepared for the blue. Blue as lakes, blue as sky. Blue blue blue. And bright bright bright. Even his shirt was orange and loud. He was full of life and sun and Sasuke wanted some of it.
"Hi! I'm Naruto," the blonde extended a hand. His face shone with a brilliant smile. "Great to meet you."
Too bright. He felt the need to squint against this ambush of life. "Sasuke. And, uh, you too."
The hand that wrapped around his own was firm, warm. His lungs momentarily stopped working. The touch sparked a flame inside him. Sasuke grimaced.
"Well," Fugaku nodded. He seemed to like Naruto, which wasn't typical—Sasuke's father was not an easy man to impress. "Sasuke, why don't you show Naruto up to his room?"
"You mean Itachi's room," Sasuke mentally hung himself.
Why did you have to do that?
He chanced a glance at his father's unimpressed face. Time to leave before he was verbally murdered. He grabbed one of the suitcases and began to haul it up the staircase. "Come on."
His mother had thoroughly cleaned out Itachi's room right after his brother had left. Sasuke had been mildly bitter. He set the suitcase down in the center of the room and nodded. "Well, this is it. Home for the next six weeks."
Naruto walked a circle around the room, poking at the most random of objects. A corner of a bookshelf. A doorknob. A line in the wall. The edge of the mattress. Then he heaved a satisfied sigh and laid himself out on the bed. Sasuke pretended not to notice the way his thin shirt stretched over his well-developed torso, slightly damp with sweat.
"Would—" He cleared his throat. Tried again. "Would you like me to give you a tour?"
"Ohh, yeah," Naruto groaned, sitting up and stretching out his back. Sasuke looked away. He could feel his cheeks burn. He hated him. "That would be great, actually."
Sasuke walked his new guest through the house, showing him his own room, their connected bathroom, his parents' bedroom door—the room was off limits—and then downstairs, the kitchen, the dining room, his parents' study—also off limits, unless you wanted to borrow a medical book, in which case you would politely ask first—and the living room.
"Do you play?" Naruto asked as he plopped down on the bench and set his fingers on the keys of their grand piano.
"A bit. For fun."
"Ah. Let's see." He chewed on his lip in thought before a melody flew out of his fingertips and danced around the room. A few birds stopped singing. "Recognize it?"
Sasuke nodded. "Chopin's Nocturne, opus 9. Number 3. In B major. It's a good one."
"It's my favorite," Naruto smiled, lifting his hands from the keys. The birds waited a moment before resuming with their singing. "What song are you?"
Sasuke briefly paused at the phrasing of the question. Who says that? He pressed the lowest C on the piano and the note resonated through him. "Debussy's Claire de Lune."
Naruto laughed, a beautiful and throaty sound. The flame inside him grew. "That one puts me to sleep, actually."
His eyebrows flew into his hairline. The flame dwindled. "Excuse me?"
"I mean, it's a wonderful piece—it just—I dunno—bores me."
"Claire de Lune is a classic, you dobe." Sasuke bit his tongue. He really wasn't that offended, but dobe?
Naruto pouted dramatically and heaved himself off the piano bench. "Alright, bastard, show me the rest of your place."
He let that name slide—nothing was as terrible as dobe—and marched out to the backyard. His parents owned quite a bit of land, and they stroll through their garden, pool, and small chunk of forest.
"Wow, it's—really green here," Naruto commented as they paused in their peach orchard. The cicadas paused in their screaming—to admire the golden stranger, Sasuke was sure. He gestured at two peaches hanging by their heads. "Can I?"
Sasuke nodded, entranced by the line of sweat falling from his sun-kissed temple and curving along his jaw. A large, fuzzy peach was thrusted in his face. "Here." He took it with a small word of thanks and sunk his teeth into its soft flesh.
"Mm," Naruto moaned as he swallowed his first bite. Juice ran down his arm in swirling rivulets as he graciously took a second bite, mumbling, "This is the best peach I've ever had."
Sasuke stared in shock as Naruto dragged his tongue up his arm to capture the sweetness that had fallen. It did something to him. His body felt as if it was engulfed in fire. Blue eyes caught his gaze and a smile—innocent or not, he could not tell—graced pink lips. "What do I do with the pit?"
"Um." His mouth had been hanging open. He shook his head. Focus. What the fuck is wrong with me? "You can just toss it. Or here, I can take it and throw it away for you."
"Okay, thanks." Naruto dug out the pit with his fingers, the soft peach squelching lewdly in his grasp. He held it up to his mouth, sucking it clean. Sasuke watched the way his lips wrapped around it, the way the pit almost seemed to pulse with every suck he gave. For a moment he wished he was in that mouth.
Wait, what the fuck.
Then Naruto held out his hand and dropped the pit into Sasuke's waiting palm. It lay there, brown and small and harmless, but he stared at it. That was in his mouth. Just a second earlier, where his lips had wrapped around it and his tongue had lapped over it, under it, into its crevices. In, into, inside—
"You going to finish that?"
Sasuke jerked out of his trance. He look briefly at the curious, blue eyes, then at the pink, wet lips. They probably taste sweet. "Sweet."
Naruto laughed, mouth glistening. "Your peach. Are you going to finish it?"
"Oh, um, do you want it?"
"Yes, please." His peach was taken from his grasp. All he had now was a pit, sucked clean. "Dattebayo."
He watched Naruto finish his peach, very aware of the fact that he had just taken a bite from it earlier. An indirect kiss. His face burned. Must be the sun. He had sensitive skin.
Are all the city boys like this?
"This looks amazing, doctor Uchiha," Naruto gushed as Mikoto laid out their dinner. It was the usual—slices of raw salmon and stacks of oysters atop ice. Sasuke watched his mother blush. God, his parents were falling in love with him.
"We hope you like it."
Sasuke tried to eat, but found it hard to swallow with the way Naruto sat across from him, slurping at the oysters. He would dig his tongue under the meat of the oyster and cup his upper lip over it. Then suck, twist. Slurp and swallow. He thought of the peach pit. Wondered how the movements of Naruto's mouth changed as he ate different things.
"I know it's early, but have you considered any specialties yet?" Fugaku asked.
Naruto reached for his fourth oyster. "I have, actually. Cardiology. Surgery. I'd love to be a cardiothoracic surgeon."
"Oh?" Fugaku was delighted. He was the top cardiothoracic surgeon in Konoha and married to its top obstetrician, with two sons aspiring to be physicians. They made for a picturesque family. "I'm actually performing a heart transplant in a few days, down at the Konoha Hospital. Would you like to shadow me?"
"Really?" Naruto's mouth fell open to reveal a few bits of oyster. "I'd love to!"
"Great! You know, Sasuke here, wants to be a oncologist. He volunteers every morning at the hospital. Why don't you join him?" At this, Mikoto perked up and turned to Sasuke. "That's a wonderful idea! Sasuke, I'm sure you can get Sakura to organize something?"
Sasuke nodded only to shift the attention off him. It was getting harder to breathe in Naruto's presence.
After dinner, Sakura conveniently dropped by with an apple pie. Her family owned a huge apple orchard, and she was always baking pies for her neighbors. Mikoto kissed her cheek and graciously accepted the offering.
Sasuke watched her face blossom as she met Naruto. Sometimes, he hated how pretty she was. Even her blush was light and delicate. Naruto would be completely at her mercy.
"Hello," she held out a manicured hand. "I'm Sakura. It's nice to meet you."
"I'm Naruto," he smiled. "Nice to meet you, too, dattebayo."
Sasuke heard Sakura's breath stop in her throat. They had practically grown up together and he liked her, but now he wanted to punch her.
"Actually, Sakura," Mikoto floated into the room after setting away the pie. She took a seat on the couch and cracked open her book. "Naruto was just telling us how he'd be interested in volunteering at the hospital. I know it's a bit late to sign up, but do you think you could organize something with Tsunade?"
"Of course!" Sakura's face lit up. "Just come by with Sasuke tomorrow, and we'll see what we can do."
As Sakura bid her farewells after a good conversation and a few songs from the piano, Sasuke languidly made his way up to his room, each floorboard in the old house squealing under his weight. The sun had given way to the moon, and he threw his window shutters open to bathe in its soft, white light. The air was cooler at night, and he preferred to sleep with his window open.
The shirt on his back was starchy from the day's sweat, and he stripped it off with a sigh. It landed in the laundry hamper along with the rest of his clothing. The night air was soothing against his skin and he made his way into the bathroom.
He had barely closed the door behind him when the door to Itachi's room opened to reveal a fully clothed Naruto. Sasuke screeched.
"Shit, sorry!" Naruto blubbered. Sasuke noticed blue eyes run up and down his naked form. He turned to the wall. "I didn't hear you—had to pee! Sorry!"
"There's something called! Knocking!" He slammed the door in Naruto's face. He missed his brother now. Itachi would have knocked. Hell, Itachi would have heard him. Would have known he was using the bathroom. He knew Sasuke always showered after dinner.
But that encounter left his skin burning. Hot enough that he had to spend an hour under the coldest water he could handle. Who cared if the dobe had to pee. He would hold it.
Sasuke didn't know what enraged him more—the fact that Naruto had seem him completely naked, or the fact that Naruto acted completely normally the next morning. He had come down to breakfast a couple minutes late—punctuality was important in the Uchiha household, but apparently his parents let Naruto get away with it—with a bright smile and an even brighter, "Good morning!"
Throughout the meal, the blonde had chatted away, happily answering his parents' questions about his family and his life in the city. Sasuke stuffed oatmeal into his mouth and fumed.
In Konoha, people walked everywhere. Cars were rare, and only one or two were ever in the village at the same time. Walking took time, but Sasuke didn't usually mind. He enjoyed the quiet bustle of a village that was just waking up. Except now, Naruto walked alongside him. Babbling and babbling and babbling. Sasuke could not understand how he could have so much to talk about.
He was pulled from his quiet fury. "What."
"I asked you a question."
"I didn't hear it." Sasuke tried not to notice the slight pain in Naruto's voice at having been ignored. Naruto peered at him and stopped walking.
Sasuke threw his arms up in exasperation. The day was heating up and he was beginning to sweat. He hated starting out his day soaked in sweat. "What are you doing? We're going to be late. And it's getting hot."
He shifted under Naruto's gaze. The stupid smile had fallen from his face. "Is this about last night?"
Sasuke crossed his arms. "No."
"So it is."
"Then why did you ask?"
"Look, I'm sorry, okay? I mean, we're both guys, anyways, and it's just a body—"
Just a body. Just. A. Body. A man with his confidence wouldn't understand.
He spun on his feet and walked away.
Naruto studied by the pool. Or in the pool, sometimes. He would lather himself in sun lotion and plop down on his stomach with his head buried in his textbook. He had three different pairs of swim shorts, two orange and one black. Sasuke had bitten through the inside of his cheek when he'd realized they were in the same year in college. It proved to his father that he could have been better. Could have gone out into the city this summer like Itachi did. Except he hadn't.
Sasuke wasn't in love with his desk, but it was where he studied. It was where he had always studied, so the thought of moving anywhere else in the house or village had never occurred to him. His desk was efficient—it had shelves and drawers and books and notebooks and pens. His room was quiet and devoid of distractions. His window would be open and the air would spin around him with a whisper. And he would study.
Tap, tap, tap.
His door opened a crack. "See, I knocked!"
He felt his body go cold. "Get out."
His door didn't move. "Can we talk?"
No, as in they hadn't spoken a word since Sasuke had walked away from him six days ago. Naruto had followed, speaking persistently, then quieted and drifted a block behind him until they reached the hospital. He knew his parents were worried, but he ignored them. He also ignored the fact that Sakura was visiting much more often, and that she and Naruto would spend the few hours after dinner studying together, or swimming together, or walking into the village together. Her laughter would ring up to his room, clear as bells, and Sasuke would be forced to shut his window.
"Sasuke." Naruto inched his way into his room, taking a seat at the edge of his bed. "I didn't mean to offend you the other day."
Sasuke stayed in his seat at his desk, staring into his textbook. The citric acid cycle. Oxaloacetate to citrate to isocitrate to alpha-ketoglutarate to succinyl-CoA to succinate to fumarate to malate and back to oxaloacetate.
But he could not concentrate. He was hyperaware of the fact that Naruto had pulled out his own textbook and was reading it. That he breathed deeply and slowly and mumbled the words under his breath. That he was studying glycolysis and repeating the enzymes of glycolysis and now pyruvate was getting jumbled into malate in Sasuke's head. He threw his pen at his desk. It bounced once and flew to the ground. Great. Just wonderful. Fuck.
He turned in his seat to face Naruto with his hands folded neatly in his lap. He let his shoulder rest on the back of the chair. Blue eyes lifted expectantly from the enzymes of glycolysis. "To you, it was just a body."
Naruto closed the book to show he was listening. When he made no move to speak, Sasuke continued through his surprise, "And maybe to you, yeah—a body is just a body. But I'm not as confident as you. I don't go around showing my body to people. Not a lot of people see it, and I don't know you."
Naruto nodded, as if deep in thought. With his face still serious, he looked Sasuke in the eye, "I know it doesn't mean much coming from me, but you are you, Sasuke. No matter what you look like. Don't feel bad for that."
In that moment, Sasuke saw more than dumb catchphrases and witty jokes in the clarity of Naruto's eyes. His rage had slipped away days ago, but the wall he built around himself was beginning to dissolve now. He offered a small smile.
Naruto set his textbook aside on Sasuke's bed and began stripping off his shirt. His swim shorts were orange today. "It's hot. Swim with me?" He left the room with a breeze that smelled of peaches.
Sasuke slipped on his own pair of navy swim shorts and made his way to the pool, where Naruto was already jumping in the water. He was about to slide in when Naruto held out a hand.
"You're going to need sunscreen," he said, pulling himself out of the pool. Sasuke watched the way his muscles moved under tanned skin and followed the droplets of water making their way down his toned arms. "If that skin doesn't burn, I don't know what will. Here."
"Thanks." He muttered as Naruto squeezed a liberal amount of the lotion onto his hand and smoothed it over Sasuke's shoulders and back. His thumb worked into a knot, and Sasuke had to swallow a groan. The fire inside him was back. He shook away the hand. "Good enough."
"Good enough" later became a habit. He and Naruto would return from the hospital, damp with sweat, and enjoy lunch by themselves. Typically, it was something simple, quickly put together by Mikoto before she left in the morning. Other times, they would attempt to cook. Sasuke made a beautiful pasta, and Naruto was surprisingly adept at both making and eating ramen. They would change into their swim shorts—Sasuke always in navy blue, and Naruto in either orange or black, depending on his mood—and haul their textbooks to the poolside.
They took turns applying sun lotion. Sasuke always found it hard to breathe as he ran his hands over Naruto's smooth shoulders. Once, he dared to dig his index and middle finger into the junction between Naruto's collarbone and shoulder. He was rewarded when Naruto threw his head to the side and groaned, the tips of his golden hair dancing lightly on Sasuke's arm. Sasuke looked down in dismay to find a damp spot in his swim shorts, where navy blue had darkened to black. Naruto turned to face him and he panicked.
"I put some on earlier," Sasuke nodded frantically. "It's good enough."
He threw himself in the pool. Naruto gave him a confused smile that said, I don't believe you but okay, and passed him his textbook. "If you say so."
It wasn't good enough. The sun loved him a little too hard and he burned under it. He sat on the couch in the living room with his shoulders hunched as Naruto peeled little translucent slivers of skin from him. The intimate action brought them closer.
He's holding a piece of me.
Naruto dipped his fingers into a tub of aloe gel and rubbed it over the angry, red skin. Sasuke sighed into its coolness.
As he waited for his skin to heal, he stayed inside and played the piano. Or rather, he played Debussy's Claire de Lune on repeat. After two afternoons of it, Naruto walked in, golden and smiling and dripping from his dip in the pool. Sasuke chanced a quick glance at him. His finger missed a key and the note fell flat.
"Okay, I know I said this song put me to sleep," Naruto said, resting a wet elbow against the piano and watching white fingers dance over the keys. "But the way you play it—it's different."
"Claire de Lune. Light of the moon," he paused to think. "But you play it like a sunrise. I like it."
You look like a sunrise.
Sasuke blushed, his face turning into the shade of the peaches that Naruto loved to eat.
He found himself suddenly awake in the middle of the night. Awoken from nothing. It's odd, falling from a floating state to harsh, unforgiving consciousness. The leaves rustled against the wind outside his window, the crickets sang, the pipes in his house creaked. Then he felt the pressure in his bladder. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to fall back into his dream, but the pressure was insistent. Sighing, he lumbered out of bed and made his way to the bathroom to pee. It was autopilot from there. Flush. Wash hands. Fall back into bed. Sleep.
The second time he woke was not to nothing, but the sound of running water. The shower. He tossed in his bed, its mattress squeaking twice, and buried his face in his pillow. Then he realized that someone was showering. His eyes blinked open. Sunlight filled his window.
Naruto was showering.
He frowned. Naruto usually showered at night, not that he noticed. The sound wasn't muffled though, and he glanced at the doorway to find his door still ajar after his previous bathroom trip. His shower had a clear curtain—it's functional, his mother had said upon its purchase years ago—and he turned his head to peer in.
His heart threatened to break from his chest. The flames inside him rose like a storm. Sucking the oxygen from him. Naruto was washing his hair, white suds of soap falling from his tousled mess and running down his back, between the dimples on his hips, over his round, muscular ass.
Who knew Naruto had such a nice ass?
Naruto scrubbed at his hair, the movement of his arms causing the muscles of his back to shift. Water curved over his shoulder blades in small rivers. He mentally slapped himself. Of course he did. The man was built like Adonis.
His lungs creaked, and he realized he had forgotten to breathe. He sucked in a heavy gulp of air, but in his greedy inhale, choked on a drop of his own spit. He coughed.
Naruto whipped his head around. Met his panicked gaze with a shock of blue. Sasuke's lungs screamed and he tried to breathe, could not breathe, as Naruto calmly stepped out of the shower. The water was still running from the shower head and dripping off his hair and down his shoulders and over his chest and down—to his dick, penis, cock, thing—as he walked toward him. Blue held Sasuke's wide, dark eyes in a frightening state of calm as he shut the door.
The click that followed was the loudest thing Sasuke had ever heard in his life.