Softer Side
by: FiendisHSerapH


It took me a couple of minutes to realize that my hand was still atop his. I felt my cheeks flame as I inched away and turned back to pick my ramen. Another minute was consumed for me to notice that I already finished my meal. Having nothing left to do, I let my orbs glide to his side. He was smiling delicately and lightly blushing as he looked down on his palms that he shuffled uneasily. This is one of the many expressions I've been dying to see of him: so vulnerable, very far from the Naruto he puts up to surpass a day of insecurities and mess-ups. These, I remember, were his very features when I first savored the warmth of his embrace. After a moment, I saw his crystal azure eyes catch mine and with that, the wind gently caressed our hair. In an instant, he smiled, the ethereal smile he wore when he acknowledged my existence, when I gained a friend, and when I did nothing to return the favor.

That day...

I ended up staring at my bowl.

He-ey, isn't that the youngest Uchiha? He's so cool!
I am sure he's as great as the other Uchihas who have studied here.
That boy is so handsome!
Perhaps he's as great as that Uchiha Itachi my parents have been telling me.

Everyday I walked down the corridor, hearing those comments from the faceless crowd who doesn't know me for who I am. The prestige of my clan overshadowed my uniqueness as me, Sasuke. Kids flock around me like I am a feature of a freak show, trying so hard to introduce themselves, ask some help, or even touch the hem of my shirt. I found the whole activity futile, so I began to return the insensitivity they gave me. I began to build a wall of ice so thick and tall that no one can infiltrate it. I learned how to put a mask of apathy and blankness to whoever comes near. To my surprise, my plan had backfired; they were drawn more by my quiet "charm" as what they call it. That made me sick... in fact, simply being there made me sick. Opposed to what being a popular figure brings, I was not happy at all...

I was never happy... until he came.

My stomach grumbled. My parents have been too busy preparing for brother's three-day mission in the Earth country, too engrossed that they didn't take some time to prepare me a simple lunch. That, compared to his enormous luggage, won't bother, will it? I left our house silently, hurt and jealousy burning inside. Once again, my insides roared. I hid it in shame of others hearing it. My hands hugged my knees as I set a low gaze on the grass. In the middle of my solitude, a loud "HEY THERE!" boomed. I casted my certified dim glare to whoever it was but was taken aback of those gleaming cobalt eyes, the sun-colored hair and a slightly teasing smirk before me. My mouth gaped open.

"You haven't eaten lunch yet?" the raspy voice chimed in curiously.
"Uh, yeah..." My plan of pushing him away didn't work as I found myself replying to his question. I returned to my tucked position. I sensed his gaze trail to the insignia behind me.
"He-EY! Aren't you the Uchiha?" His scandalous voice together with an accusing finger played. "You must be so cool, with all those fighting and stuff..."
I felt my teeth bite my lower lip, then my lips form a pout. "Yes, I am... I am an Uchiha." My lips began to quiver.
Upon saying that, his pools grew wider in amusement and his lips registered a grin. "I'm Uzumaki Naruto, the next Hokage, and uh, what's your name?"
I drew back my breath as the rare question came out from his mouth. My icy wall began to melt as warmth influenced by his demeanor crept up my cheeks.
"I am... Sasuke." my eyes were already fixed on his gray shirt.
"Hey, Sasuke..." my name sounded different when he said it. He looked around cautiously and in one swift move handed me a slightly warm bowl of ramen. I realized that he had been hiding it behind him since he came.
"It's yours now."
My fortress crumbled.
"T-Thank you." I felt my lips twitch up. I never thought it feels so good to smile.
"So... does it taste good?" He asked, curiosity never leaving his voice.
"YES." was my lone retort of satisfaction. I continued to eat, but I was also aware of his crystalline eyes never leaving me.
"You know what?" He suddenly spoke, and my eyes slid to his side. With another impish grin and deep intake of air, he proceeded, "You should smile more often, Sasuke. You look good that way."
I almost dropped the chopsticks. I stared at my bowl, mind left hanging.
Unaware of the effects his words had given me, he looked behind us, stood up and instantly ran away.
"W... wait..."
He looked back and waved a short goodbye. Once again, I was left alone, but the sun had shone brighter in me than before.

I placed my left hand across my mouth. I found that my cheeks were already flaming extremely.

I must find him.

Those words I mumbled to myself right after dismissal. I walked outside, looking down at my feet and wearing my solemn mask. Eyes were warily staring as if I am some good food to eat. With each of my steps, I recalled his sunny exterior, the way he said my name, and the words that made me aware that I was, indeed, still alive. I paused on my tracks as I reached the meadows. The wind played with my hair. In retort, I swept the tendrils away from my face as I scanned the area for that blonde. I saw no... wait, what's that? A group of boys flocked around something. They seemed to be... kicking something. I looked closer and I saw that in the middle of the group lay someone. They're beating him! Evil grins were present on their faces as they seemed to enjoy what they're doing. And that someone was... wait a second, I know that gray shirt! The boy was hugging himself tightly, tucking himself for protection, and he has yellow hair...


What are they doing? Why are they doing that to him? I... I don't understand!
I heard mocking words escape their lips...
You cursed child. Go away, you big piece of crap!
I have to stop them. I have to, because he's my friend!

I felt my feet lift my whole body. I was about to run when...
"Uchiha... err, what's your name again?"
A hand tightly gripped my left wrist.
Irritated, I looked back at him. I saw a white puppy poking out of the boy's jacket.
He's the guy in my class.
"Yo." He grinned, "Would you mind tagging along? I'm gonna introduce you to the crowd."
"Wa" My disapproval was cut by my subconscious want to be known, to be identified as me.
"Come on, they are waiting." his lopsided smile was accompanied by energetic barks from his pet. I set my sight to the oppression going on. Why doesn't he seem to notice that?
"Let's hurry up!" He sprinted, pulling me along. I helplessly looked back to the poor boy until thick bushes blocked the scene.

I limply walked back to the greens, my eyes looking straight to that spot where the harshness to the boy who had become my joy happened. I bit my lower lip as my pools squinted, trying to recall the injustice they... we... I... did to him, to Naruto. In rage and sorrow, I kicked a helpless pebble on my way before running closer to that area. I stood, trailing my sight on the ground until I saw drops of scarlet... blood. I knelt down and let my hand brush over the dried liquid. Through it I felt the intensity of their kicks that landed on his bare back, and their mocking words that scarred his feelings. I looked up...

You should smile more often, Sasuke. You look good that way.

Sorry, Naruto. I just can't. Not this time.

The sun casted faint hues of orange and strong yellows on me as I prodded towards the playground. Metal slides reflected the sun's rays, almost blinding me. See-saws creaked and go-rounds revolved as the breeze blew vehemently, trashing leaves out of its way. And the swings...

I moved towards the front side of the swings as soon as I recognized the boy sitting on the third spot, rocking his seat softly while staring down on his bruises. He paused and looked at my shadow that overlapped with his. Finally, he looked up at me with his right eyelid swollen and his cheeks badly stained with his own blood. He smiled despite the sure pain caused by his ruptured lips and bleeding gums.

"Hi, Sa... suke." His greeting sounded more like a husky whisper. It's evident that he had shed more tears than his sould had allowed him. It struck me; he's trying to be strong at my presence.

But I can't smile anymore.

My lips trembled and so did my hands. Tears started to form at the corners of my eyes. I heard myself cream his name, and in one blink, I found myself sobbing on his lap, my arms wrapping around his waist. I heard him gasp.
"I am... so sorry. I didn't get to protect you from those kids... I didn't save you..."
A bruised hand gently touched my jaw. I looked up and his smile welcomed me once more. I stared at his crystal orbs. Instantly, I felt secure though hurt.
"Haven't I told you... to always wear a smile?" He said in his lowest and deliberate manner as his thumb erased my tears. I stopped sobbing, looked at him with eyebrows crossed and lips curved downwards. Impulse dictated me to reach for my pocket, get my handkerchief and dress his bleeding right hand.
"S-sasuke?" his expression softened. I looked at his gray shirt now decorated with crimson. I imagined his everyday going past these beatings and taunting. Everyday... this is our situation, and our distance that's similar to that of heaven and hell: the loved and the hated. I want to sob again but I held back. I wiped my face with the collar of my shirt, and intoned in my usual calm manner, "You're the one who needs to smile, Naruto. You should..."

Not letting me finish my statement, he hugged me tight. And we cried.

I felt his smooth skin slide against mine. I noticed his flushed features under me; his fingers drumming lightly against each other in contemplation, his cobalt pools gleaming in the dark.

"But, I've got nothing to offer, Sasuke..."

Drowning his insecurities, I filled his jawline with butterfly kisses. His feather-like whimpers and icy hands on my back raised the fever in me three degrees higher. "You have, Naruto. Plenty, in fact." I finally assured as I dragged my lips to his bare chest.

"Are you hurt?" my breathy voice broke the silence of the darkness. It accompanied worry and fear.
"No... I am okay." His raspy voice replied, muffled by the sheets underneath him. "I'm alright. I'm not hurt."
"Then why are you... crying?" His cheeks I've touched as I asked. True enough, it felt damp. Sobs later walked on my ears.
"I am crying because... I am happy because you're... here... with me."
"Assure me that you aren't hurt, because I don't want you to be..." came my lone retort.
Fear reverting to his eyes, he asked in turn, "Why aren't you smiling... back... back then? But now... you've... you've been doing it... of -ah!- ten?" His pauses were for catching up with the rhythm. His hands clamped on my shoulders for support.
I closed my eyes, his orbs still shining in the dark.
"You're my only reason to smile, Naruto..." My breaths turned deeper as I snapped my eyes shut. He tightened more around me and I felt him tremble. Seconds later, he chanted my name, acknowledging me and my ability. Spasms cut our coherence of thoughts...
Blackness reigned afterwards.

"Why are you blushing hard, Sasuke?"
I forced my eyes open and almost screamed to see Sir Kakashi's face in front of me.
"S-s-SIR!" I swear, I looked stupid.
"Let's leave him, sir. It's just the result of fantasizing over his bunch of FANGIRLS." The familiar raspy voice assaulted. I set an evil glare at the dobe looking away, frowning.

Hah, Naruto. You're just jealous!

"Ah alright, alright... let's go back to training, before that feud grows worse." Kaka-sensei lazily swept a hand on his silver hair and walked away, expecting us to follow. But we didn't... Naruto was still there, arms crossed in front of his chest, wearing an expression so grumpy, while I stood staring at him. Within this silence, his voice echoed in my head.

"Just once, Sasuke... let me win."

I think I know what to do.


Pandemonium registered in me hearing, and I certainly know where that came from. In reflect, I opened my eyes in a pained fashion and there he was, the dobe of my life, staring at me, frowning and pouting.
"Sasuke, we've been worrying... a lot." Sakura was beside him, her right hand aiming ot reach out for me, but the loudmouth inched forward and pointed a finger at me.

"You're wasting our time, you know."

"Right, you've been." Kaka-sensei trailed his voice off. "You've been failing many times in our mini-chase, Naruto defeated you two times in our combat... and you've fallen four times from the highest tree I've asked you to mark. Good thing Naruto was there to save your butt all the time."
"Of course, I am the next Hokage. It's basic that I should be better than anyone else!" Those words erupted from the dobe's mouth as he continued to savor his brilliant moment.
"Yeah, of course you are. You are the savior who doesn't care about the victim's life. What kind of a rescuer drags the victim's body up the stairs?" Kaka-sensei asked in a mocking manner.
I brushed my fingers past the aching spot at the back of my head. And I thought he promised me that he'll go gentle with the act. No wonder I really lost consciousness...

"Sasuke, are you sick?" The jounin looked at me, and I shook. "No, I am not. Perhaps I am just tired..."
"Yes, he's tired because he didn't sleep well last night, sir." Naruto sliced in my reason. Our reason.
I saw Kaka-sensei stare at Naruto saying "But you didn't too, Naruto. Now I am wondering what you two had been up to."
I caught a glimpse of Sakura pursing her lips, her eyes flashing something... something that I must know yet she shouldn't.
"Kaka-sensei, as Naruto said, we're wasting our time. It would be wise if we'll go on with our training." she finally suggested flatly. Naruto and Kaka-sensei nodded, while I smiled in secret.

I brushed the last thick bush away from my face before seeing the orange dobe's form bathing in the sunset's rays. I walked towards him, and my last three steps made him look back at me. I stood by him as we watched the sun rest behind the thick foliage of the trees. He turned to me and said, "I am sorry. Does your head still hurt?" I heard myself say no. He simply nodded, sighed then turned back. Before he did look away, he reached in and whispered in my ears the words, "Thanks for letting me win..."

Of course I won't let him escape without returning the favor.

I gripped his left wrist and in one quick motion lupped his form towards mine, simultaneously diving my lips onto his. His hands in turn latched behind my neck to make me lean more to him. Within my shallow breaths, I replied, "Youve been winning, Naruto... you've won me." I glimpsed at his eyes turning watery. I dried it using my thumb as I commented, "You crybaby."

Just then when I looked up, I saw a pale-stricken Sakura with eyes and mouth wide open. By her feet lay toppled ramen bowls. I knew it... she knew it, too. Wanting to make her feel more awkward upon being there, I pressed my lips against Narut's neck sending my orange-clad joy off into a chain of pleasure and whimpers. After doing that, I was aware that she already scurried off, probably due to extreme disgust and jealousy.
I broke my movements, leaving Naruto agape. After a moment, I let go.
"Sasuke, where are you going?"
After framing his face with my fingers and sealing his lips with another kiss, I ran off without any reply.

It's about time to break her fangirl attempts on me.

On the bend leading to the further expanse of greens, I saw her off-guard. She looked at me, her brows meeting and her expression bitter. I have noticed that although wearing that furious face, she had cried. It's quite amusing how she did that quickly.

"Are you..." Her voice stern and eyes narrowing, she asked.
"You and Naruto... are you... lovers?"
The question I've been expecting of her has finally come.
I don't know what pushed me, but I put on my certified smirk, the one I use to annoy my enemies.

Throbbing pain instantly registered on my left cheek.

- To Be Continued -

Author's Notes:
HAH! After almost five months of hiatus, I am baaack. I told you I'll be back no matter what! I've decided to make Intimacy a part of this fic, because this fic has already escalated the sensuality scale. So... liked it? Hated it? Hated my return? Oh well, please comment!