A/N: Just a waff fic that was inspired by Kaminiko's fic, 'Reprieve'. This is dedicated to her, since she DID inspire it.. ^__^

Just because this is shounen ai doesn't mean Byakko is going to become shounen ai. Hell, it doesn't mean Byakko is gonna end up with romance in it at ALL.

Insomnia Productions Presents..

Freaks Flock Together
By Clara, part of Insomnia Productions


It was one of those particularly lazy days where it was just a bit too hot for comfort and there were fat clouds drifting lethargically across the sky. They were lying on top of Naruto's house in identical positions, arms crossed behind their heads and faces lifted towards the sky, hoping to catch a brief breeze that sometimes came at this height. Both had opted to rid themselves of their shirts and Naruto was a bit amused to see that Sasuke was starting to sport quite the burn.

"Shuriken." Naruto turned and frowned at his companion, then looked back up at the particular cloud they were observing. He tried tilting his head one way, then the other, then just shook it in resignation. "I don't see it."

"That's because you're not looking hard enough," Sasuke admonished, then scooted closer to Naruto. The blonde chuckled, since his friend looked like a strange worm. Ignoring Naruto's mirth, he lay his head right above Naruto's shoulder and pointed to the sky. "See? Shuriken."

"Nope. I still see a fox."

Sasuke sighed and rolled his eyes, moving a back to where he was laying before. "Idiot. It's obviously not a fox. You need to get your eyes checked."

Naruto reached over and pinched Sasuke. The black haired boy hissed in surprise and faint pain.

"You're starting to turn into a lobster, albino."

Sasuke shot him a glare, then flipped over on his stomach. "Great. Maybe it'll scare away some of the girls."

Naruto chuckled, tilting his already bronzed face further up. "I doubt that. They'd probably baby you and blame me for your burn."

"Most likely." Sasuke folded his arms under his head and closed his eyes. Dusk was just beginning to fall, giving the overly baked world some respite. "I don't know, I'm looking pretty multi-colored though. White legs, pink chest, faintly burned back.. I'm sure they'll give it a rest until I'm normal again."

"You, normal?" Naruto laughed, mimicking Sasuke by flipping onto his own stomach. "That'll be one long break."

Sasuke retaliated by jabbing Naruto in the side. "Look who's talking, Mr. 'I-need-ramen-every-single-day-in-order-to-survive'."

"Hey!" Naruto yelped, extremely offended. "Mock me if you have to, but watch what you're saying when you talk about my ramen!"

Sasuke turned his head and looked at his rival for a long moment, then shook his head. "I wonder about you sometimes, you know?"

"The feeling's mutual."

They lapsed back into silence after that, enjoying the sinking sun's rays on their backs. Naruto has closed his eyes and Sasuke was looking at him thoughtfully, watching as the sun played with the shadows on his face.


"Mmm?" Naruto asked sleepily.

"..what's that on your stomach?"

Naruto's eyes snapped open. He really hadn't been expecting that, especially during such a peaceful moment between them. Frowning, he turned his head away from Sasuke opting instead to press his nose against his roof. He could feel his ears begin to burn with shame.

"It's nothing," he mumbled against the roof and grimaced slightly when he heard Sasuke shift.


"And?" Naruto buried his face deeper into his arms. "It's none of your business, anyway."

There was a beat of silence where Sasuke pondered pointing out that it technically was his business, considering they were teammates. He decided, however, that the topic was probably much too tender to use such a brash form of persuasion.

"You don't have to tell me," Sasuke murmured in what he hoped was a comforting voice. He didn't get to use such a voice often, since there wasn't anyone he had to comfort. "But.. you can if you want."

Naruto turned back to Sasuke, looking surprised. "So where'd this sentimental side come from?"

"He pops up once in awhile when I'm least expecting it." Sasuke gave one of his rare smiles, igniting a bright one from Naruto.

"You're weird."

"Freaks flock together."

Naruto let out a surprised laugh at that, then rolled over onto his back again. Carefully gluing his eyes onto the fat cloud he and Sasuke had been debating on, Naruto reached down to place the palm of one of his hands on his tattoo.

"Have you heard of the fox demon?"

"Who hasn't?" Sasuke asked, sounding mildly surprised. This story was promising to be interesting. "Why?"

Naruto grimaced. He was half hoping that Sasuke would be all, "What fox demon?" That would have made things much easier.

He had hoped.

"I'm not it," he said quickly, scrunching his eyes shut. This was becoming harder than he thought it would, though he had never expected to have to explain his curse, as silly as it sounded. "I mean, I am it, but.."

"Oh. You're like Gaara."

"I am not!" Naruto burst out vehemently, shooting up to a sitting position. Sasuke blinked, surprised at the reaction. "I mean, I'm not a psycho like Gaara. I don't embrace the fact that I'm a demon or use it to my advantage or anything like that. It's just.. there."

He sunk back down, the sudden burst of energy draining away his anger. The nervousness was still there, though.

"But.. it is still there. It.. heals me and acts as a shield sometimes, and there are times.. it takes over. Like, when I get this terrible burst of emotion. Or something."

Naruto laced his trembling fingers across his tattoo in a slightly self-preserving manner, closing his eyes and waiting for the mockery to befall on him again.

"..what do you think that cloud looks like?"

Naruto's eyes snapped back open again in a bit of offended surprise. He turned to give Sasuke a piece of his mind but had the words shocked out of his throat by the tense, thoughtful look on Sasuke's face. He turned his face back to the sky and found himself looking at the same cloud they had been debating about before, only changed ever so slightly.

"..a fox," he said meekly.

"I don't." Sasuke was smiling slightly. "I think it looks like you."


Sasuke turned to look at Naruto, the smile still gracing his features. It broadened and his eyes closed briefly, causing Naruto's heart to skip a beat. Sasuke looked so.. peaceful. He loved catching Sasuke at moments like these, when his barriers were down.

"Naruto, whoever you are.. you're just that. You. You're still an idiot who has a ridiculous amount of potential and still.. you. My main rival."

The blonde blinked several times, then blushed furiously. He blushed even more when he realized that he was starting to choke up.

Sasuke was the only other one aside from Iruka who accepted him for who he was, despite knowing about his horrible curse.

He reached up to scrub at his eyes ineffectively, hoping Sasuke hadn't noticed.

"Your sentimental side frightens me."

Sasuke laughed slightly. "I know. That's why I usually keep him locked away."

"I'm beginning to think we should lock you away," Naruto retaliated, looking back up at the sky. His cheeks were still stained pink, but fading back to their natural color as they approached the more familiar grounds of idle banter. "Hey."


"..You really think that cloud looks like me?"


"No, really." He tilted his head to the side, observing the cloud intently. "I can kind of see it too." He let out a gleeful laugh. "Look! The cloud floating beside it! It looks like ramen!"

Sasuke shoved him.

"You really are a nerd, you know that?"

"A super-cool, number one Hidden Leaf ninja nerd, you mean!"

"Hardly," Sasuke scoffed. He turned back to the sky and was quite surprised by the abnormally bright star twinkling back at him. "What on earth?"

Naruto followed Sasuke's gaze and grinned. "What, don't tell me the great and powerful Sasuke doesn't know about Venus."

"Venus.." Sasuke repeated, rolling the name on his tongue as if he had never heard of it before.

"Yeah, you know, Venus. Born of sea foam after Cronus threw Uranus' blood into the ocean. Said to be the Goddess of Love. She's supposed to be one hot chick, man."

"I don't know. I don't think I could ever be attracted to a woman.."

"Words marked, remembered, and stored for blackmail!"

"..that has been born from blood and fish crap.." He turned to glare at Naruto, wondering if he could shove the other boy off the roof without getting into too much trouble. "I didn't say that."

"You did so."

"I didn't mean it like that."

"You still said it."

Sasuke punched him hard on the shoulder, earning a satisfying grunt from Naruto.

"Anyway. Venus. Goddess of beauty and love and whatnot. She gave birth to Cupid. You must know who Cupid is.."

Sasuke nodded slightly. "Yeah, Ino wrote a poem a couple years back on how Cupid shot her with an arrow or something and she fell madly in love with me. I didn't get it. Who would fall in love with someone after they got shot with an arrow?"

Naruto chuckled. "It's a myth. Venus was like the ultimate matchmaker and got upset when people didn't marry when she wanted them to, so she would have her son shoot them in the heart with like, love-arrows or something."

"Brutal way of falling in love.."

The blonde shrugged slightly. "Eh, you know those Greeks. Obsessed with romantic tragedies and whatnot." He shot a discreet look out of the corner of his eye at the Uchiha. "Speaking of love.. have you ever been in it?"

"Been in love?" Sasuke snorted with disdain. "Do I look like the kind of guy who has time for love?"

"I had a feeling you'd answer like that." Naruto grinned up at Venus. "I haven't been in love either. I mean, I really like Sakura-chan and whatnot, but I don't think it's love unless it's mutual. You know? Besides.. not many people like me, 'cause of the demon and whatnot.."

"They're stupid," Sasuke said vehemently, then sighed. "You're worth more than all of them."

They both froze at Sasuke's admittance, the taller of the two turning an unhealthy shade of pink and the shorter looking justifiably surprised.


"That came out wrong."

Naruto grinned. "I don't know, you're blushing. Sounds like it came out right but in a way you didn't want me to hear."

If possible, the other turned redder. "Now you're just letting your ego control your thoughts." In order to hide his flush, he rolled over onto his stomach and buried his face in his arms. Pride be damned.

"You have a crush on me!" Naruto crowed, delighted. He crawled onto Sasuke's back, sprawling out on top of him and making the two of them look like a demented cross.

"WHO would have a crush on YOU?" Sasuke growled, waiting for the roof to open up and swallow him whole. Despite the fact that they had been close friends for a good five years, and he did harbor some (by some he meant an itsy bitsy amount).. romantic feelings towards the other boy, that was not how he planned on telling him.

"Good question." He pretended to think about it for a moment, scratching his chin. "Lemme think.. you!"

Sasuke growled and flipped over, shoving Naruto off him. The boy tumbled and landed with an 'oof', sending a half hearted glare at the blushing boy.

"Just because you can't get in touch with your inner feelings.."

"..you're taking this a lot lighter than I would imagine," Sasuke mumbled.

Naruto grinned, folding his hands behind his head. "Yeah, well, I can use it on all those annoying girls. Be like, 'that's right, girlies, Sasuke likes me, not you'."

Sasuke rolled his eyes and turned to look at Naruto. "So, what you're saying is.."

"A love is a love is a love," Naruto answered, beaming.

"..yes, okay, you're saying something that makes absolutely no sense, I see." Sasuke closed his eyes and sighed.

"Funny. What I'm saying is.. I like you too."

Black eyes snapped open and met a pair of amused blue ones. Naruto had scooted a bit closer, the bottom of his chin just above Sasuke's shoulder. Sasuke tried to say something, then just shook his head hard and swallowed thickly.

"I'm glad you finally said something, you know," Naruto said idly, resting his chin against his palm. "I was getting worried that I was the one who was going to have to say something."

"You mean, you knew?"

"Hell no! Man, you're insanely good at hiding stuff. I was just hoping."

Hope. He was hoping Sasuke liked him. Naruto was..

He felt his head turn.

"Ha! You look so surprised. That's classic. And hey, I was right! You really don't like women!"

Without saying anything, Sasuke grabbed Naruto and pulled him up to his side, nearly crushing the other boy. Naruto let out a large breath and turned to press his forehead against Sasuke's shoulder, a (rewarding, definitely, for Sasuke) blush finally staining his cheeks.

"You really are a freak, you know that, Naruto?"

The blonde grinned cheerfully, leaning over to place a small kiss on Sasuke's jawline. "You know what they say."


"Stick with what you know."

Sasuke laughed and pulled Naruto up, kissing his forehead.

Stick with what you know, indeed.


Wow. This is.. very rambling. Kinda like my conversations with people. Rambling.