Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters and blah! So, nyah! You can't sue me now! (attempts to chuck demonic plushies at anyone who dares say otherwise)

Fragile Bonds

Chapter 10: I Remember


Naruto shot up in bed and glanced around the room, struggling to take in air. His clothes clung to his body from the sweat that had formed on his body. His body shook lightly and he held his hands in his face, pulling his legs to his chest.

'Was it all real?'

He could still feel it. The soft caresses that had been placed upon his body and the warm breath that made his skin tingle… the touches that were given by him. Then again, had it really happened or had it been some sort of morbid dream? The blond shook his head and stepped out of bed, determined to confirm his suspicions.

'Yep, it definitely didn't happen. I think I've been drinking too much,' he thought. 'Erp, wait… I don't drink.' Just as his hand reached the door handle, he finally began to notice that it was slightly cold in the room despite how warm he had felt under the soft blankets. He looked down and all thoughts of leaving the room left him.

"AAH!! IM NAKED!!"


The wails from the room above echoed throughout the house.

"What the?!" Sasuke flopped off the couch in shock, quickly standing up and looking around. He winced and rubbed his lower back.

'Damn, that actually hurt.'

Just then, a quick blur of yellow shot by and before he knew it, he was back on the floor, landing rather ungracefully on his rear. "Damn it, Naruto! Will you just stay put for ONE second?!" Waking up from yells and hitting the floor wasn't exactly what he thought of as a nice way to wake up. He stood up to crack his back, only to be met with a finger pointed at his face. He frowned at the intruding… thing. Sasuke slapped it away, but there it was again.

"YOU! What did you do?!"

The raven-haired boy just watched the boy with a detached expression. 'What's he talking about now…?'

"I woke up in bed na-na-NAKED! I know you had something to do with it, you sick pervert!" accused the blond.

"What are you trying to accuse me of?"

That was an odd question. "Erm, I-I don't know exactly, but I know you had something to do with it!"

Sasuke sighed. This was getting ridiculous. "To do with what?" he pressed.

"I woke up naked!"

"And your point?"

"ARGH! You know what?! Never mind!!" And with that, he ran up the steps.

Sasuke smirked, watching the smaller boy's retreating form. "You went straight to the room in a towel. You probably just didn't change out of them," he paused, thinking he had sounded a bit too nice. "Idiot."

Naruto blushed. Bathroom. Towel. Tub. It all came rushing back and he suddenly felt light-headed. 'So, it had happened. No. No, no, no!' He rushed off to his room, slamming the door behind him.

'That wasn't the reaction I was expecting,' he thought wearily. 'But since when did that guy make any sense?' He smirked. 'But that's why… I feel this way. So unpredictable.'

He hadn't always had this affection for the boy. When they had been apart of Team 7, Naruto had come off as someone who would be a burden. Just another annoying, loudmouthed idiot. He was someone who would block his way to achieving a greater power that would allow him to overcome his brother. But as time passed, the arguments, the name-calling, and the little fights that they would have every now and then slowly became a source of comfort.

There's someone who can understand me.

And like the fool he was, he ran away with his tail between his legs. The new feelings… they had frightened him.

Afterwards, everything began to fall apart. Orochimaru had cursed and marked him. Just when he had finally thrown everything down, thrown away his friendships, Naruto just had to come into the picture. He dragged him straight back to Konoha. What made him come back, he couldn't figure out, but all he knew was that he hated the blond for it. For bringing him back and for getting in the way of his ambition. He had ruined it all. And so he lashed out.

Sasuke laughed an empty laugh. "I failed at both. My ambition," he glanced at the door to Naruto's room. "And my life." He frowned. "But I will change things."


So, it was true then. Naruto thought that it might have been some sort of warped fantasy (if you could call it that), but it had happened. That incident in the bathroom and that kiss.

A gentle breeze graced his lightly pink-tinged cheeks. He was back at the training grounds where his old team had been formed again, standing far onto the lake, enjoying the feeling of the heated water gently grazing his skin. Something about the place seemed to bind him to it. With his eyes closed, the blond outstretched his arms to the sky, welcoming the comforting light the sun brought him. And he remained like that. Finally at peace, finally free of the burdens that lay heavily on his shoulders. 'If only this feeling could last forever.'

But it can't… and it won't.

He slowly opened his eyes, his eyes meeting with the bright blue of the sky so unlike his now dulled orbs.

Why?

The sorrow slowly crept its way into his being, draining him. Those words had been uttered so desperately and it cut at him. It was a simple answer, so why couldn't he answer it? 'Why had I left?' His arms dropped to his sides weakly and his gaze fell to the rippling water beneath his feet. Jiraiya had always asked him the same question and he had always given him the same answer.

"Naruto, tell me. Why did you leave?"

"Because I wanted to get away."

"Get away from what? The villagers? This isn't about them anymore, I can see it, kid. Tell me the real reason."

And when he really thought about it, the real answer was, "…I don't know."

For three years, he had convinced himself that the reason was because of the villagers. The hateful glares and the insults had all become too much for him to bear. Still, every time he managed to dig up a reason, it seemed false even to his own mind.

Naruto lifted calloused fingers, a sign of a life of hardships, to his thin lips. 'But now, after three years, I think I finally know why. I finally remember,' he thought, a light smile playing across his lips.

Why did you leave me?

"Maybe… maybe now I can answer you," he paused, catching a leaf caught in the wind. "Sasuke. Along with everyone else."


"You see, the reason I left was because I-well, I… Gah!! This isn't working!" His brilliant plan of sitting down and explaining things to his friend had been tossed out the window. After going over countless scenarios in his head, every single one seemed to end in an awkward situation. Of course, why had he expected anything less. "That's it. I really don't care. I'm just going to GO down there and do this! Right now!!"

He yanked his light blue jacket of the hanger and slid it over his black shirt, marching down the hallway with determination. Well, at least until he was greeted by a site that almost sent him tumbling down the stairs. In the middle of the living room was none other than Uchiha Sasuke who, by the way, was lacking a shirt, exposing his pale skin to everyone who decided to peek in through the windows. The blonde's jaw did a magnificent drop to the floor as he blushed furiously.

He was about to throttle the boy, but something about his features stopped him. He looked peaceful.

Not wanting to ruin the moment, Naruto carefully tiptoed over to the boy and sat down in front of him, crossing his legs. "Humph. Bastard better wake up soon," he muttered.

It was then that he spared the raven-haired enigma a glance. Sasuke, with his eyes closed, was sitting cross-legged as well, leaning his elbows on his knees with his hands lightly intertwining. His soft features weren't marred by contempt, but actually looked gentle. Slowly, without his own knowledge, his rich, blue pools carefully took in every detail of the lithe and alluring figure before him. The way his chest would lightly rise and fall with each, short breath. The toned muscles that shaped his entire body, which boasted strength.

Naruto's eyes slowly trailed lower and lower, until…

"I never knew you took to staring at people."

The blond literally jumped up, but slipped and fell backwards from shock. Luckily for him, Sasuke had grabbed the boy's hand in time, pulling the boy down towards him.

"Ai!"

Thump.

After a few seconds, Naruto built up the courage to crack open an eyelid and immediately regretted it. He was sprawled over Sasuke's half-naked form on the floor, his face planted in the boy's chest. He clumsily tried to push himself off of the boy, but again slipped and landed straight on Sasuke, earning a muffled, "Oof!"

"Y-You bastard! W-What was that for?!" he stuttered, trying desperately to hold onto what dignity he had left. It wasn't working.

Sasuke sighed and sat up, gripping the blonde's waist and hoisting him up onto his feet. "Hn." He took the dark blue shirt from the couch and slipped it over his body, cracking his knuckles afterwards. He slid his hands into his pockets and walked off, leaving a very red-faced Naruto to his duties as a space cadet.

Naruto snapped out of it and spun around on his heels, pointing at Sasuke. "H-Hey! Where do you think you're going?!"

"To the kitchen. Where else?" he said, rolling his eyes. "You can starve if you want, but I don't want a similar fate." The blond muttered several curses under his breath that would have mad mothers cover their children's ears. "Instead of throwing death threats at me that you probably couldn't even back up, why don't you just come eat?" After deciding that he wasn't exactly lightening the mood, he grunted and turned back to the stove. "I'm making ramen."

"RAMEN?!" He perked up and sped into the kitchen, squeezing his friend from behind.

"Ah! Naruto, what do you think you'r-" he said, blood rushing to his cheeks.

"Thank you! Here, here! Let me help!"

Sasuke blushed and pushed back the urge to just hold the smaller boy. He smiled. 'Even the smallest thing can make you smile, can't it?'

That's why I feel this way…


This… was very short, but at least I got it done. I was a bit stuck on how to write out the thoughts I had for it, so this is what I got! I added little bits of random things in there, but oh well. I'm sorry that I took so long to update. I'm really happy that there are so many people who actually follow this and I appreciate you being patient with me. I'm going to start working on my other fiction, too.

So, here's your chapter! Let me know what you think! Oh, and thanks for all the nice reviews. I really appreciate them, you know? Hehe.