AN: I'm glad everyone has liked the story so much! This is the final chapter, so I hope it lives up to expectations. It's a short fic, I know, but I only have so much time to write. Plus, I didn't want to write a story that just dragged on and on.

Disclaimer: Kishimoto-sama, in all his greatness, is creator and owner of Naruto.

Warnings: angst, OOCNESS AND SAP. I did warn you at the beginning - hope you remembered those toothbrushes.

V.

Sasuke got to his appointed meeting place with Naruto, and sighed on seeing that the dobe wasn't there yet. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against a convenient wall, doing his best to ignore the looks he was getting.

Argh…why the hell did I even agree to this in the first place? I refuse to sing in front of people! And this whole 'you have to look nice' thing is just getting me ogled even more than usual…Sasuke growled inaudibly to himself, and hunched a little further into the wall.

He was wearing long, slightly baggy white pants, and a form fitting black tank top. He'd left his hitai-ate at home, and replaced the bandages on his forearms with tight blue arm protectors. Over all of this he wore what he could only call a sleeveless trenchcoat, in the same royal blue as the arm bands, with the Uchiha fan on the back and a slightly up turned collar. It fastened with two small silver clasps near his navel and fell to mid-calf.

"Wow, so being made a Chuunin really did give you a better fashion sense!" Sasuke looked up to glare at Naruto, but stopped, staring.

Naruto was wearing very baggy black cargo pants, a dark blue tank-top with an orange spiral blazoned across the front, and over that a loose, black, short-sleeved shirt. His hitai-ate had been replaced with a band of blue cloth, orange arm bands covered his wrists, and he was grinning appreciatively at Sasuke, seeming pleased with himself.

Quickly, Sasuke tore his eyes away from his friend, pushing thoughts of "Damn, he's hot!" out of his mind. "Hn. Let's just go and get this over with." Naruto rolled his sky blue eyes in exasperation before tugging Sasuke's hand to get him moving, then walking away.

Fortunately, it was getting dark, so Sasuke didn't have to put up with quite as many stares as he'd worried about. They reached the karaoke joint about the same time as everyone else, and were immediately pulled into the large, noisy group. Ino looked like she would dearly have loved to jump him right then and there, but he glared and she restrained herself.

Naruto slipped quickly into his role as the loud center-of-attention, and lead the way inside, trailed by the other eight Konoha ninja who had first taken the Chuunin exams together, all those years ago.

It was weird being with everyone like this again, Sasuke realized as they sprawled over a couple of tables right in the middle of the room. It wasn't a large place, but seemed to have a decent sound system, and an actual stage with lighting. Small, but sophisticated.

Sasuke stuck close to Naruto, snagging a chair on one side of his loud friend, while Shikamaru took the other. Neji, Hinata, Kiba and Shino huddled together at a table nearby, while Ino joined Lee and Sakura off to their right, though Sasuke could tell she had wanted to sit with him. He had been a bit surprised to see Lee and Sakura together, but decided that they made a good couple. Inwardly, he was glad that his other teammate seemed to have gotten over her obsession with him. He had never hated her, but her constant unwanted attentions had been very annoying.

"So! Who's up first?" Ino asked, facing them all, fists planted firmly on her hips, her face determined.

"Me, me!" Naruto immediately jumped up. "Kiba, Fuzzy Eyebrows! Come on!" Ino just sighed and rolled her eyes, apparently knowing better than to get in Naruto's way. The two other guys stood up eagerly, to Sasuke's surprise, and were soon joined on the stage by Naruto. Their music came on, and the three put on a good show, jumping around to the catchy music, playing air guitar, and singing loudly. Sasuke hadn't realized Naruto had such a good singing voice. He was secretly disappointed when the song ended and Naruto stopped singing, but was careful not to let that show.

Almost everyone took turns onstage. They even got Hinata up twice, much to Sasuke's shock; she sang one duet with Neji, and another with Sakura, at the girl's gentle urging. She was looking particularly pretty tonight, wearing a light blue dress, and Sasuke noted that Kiba's eyes almost never left her. He almost smirked, then realized that he was probably doing something similar with Naruto and sighed.

And he did watch Naruto carefully. At first, the blond teen was fine and truly seemed to be having a good time. But as the night went on, Sasuke saw the happiness and energy drain away, until only a thin shell was left on the surface. He saw the looks and glares the other customers shot his friend, no matter how well Naruto sang. He heard the soft hisses, the ever-present whispers. He saw that the others, except Shikamaru, did not really talk with Naruto – he was readily accepted into their group, and at the same time was not truly a part of it. Naruto sang less and less as his energy diminished, and finally he was only sitting at the table, putting on a good show of cheering for everyone else, but with the emptiness creeping steadily back into his brilliant blue eyes.

Sasuke felt a sick, cold feeling rising in his stomach; panic at what he knew he had to do, laced with fear for Naruto. I don't have the words! I don't know how to tell him in a way that he will believe!And still the pain and emptiness in blue eyes deepened…

Sasuke was about to stand and take Naruto away to train or eat ramen or something, when Ino waltzed over and tugged him out of his seat. Frowning, the dark-haired teen found himself being dragged unceremoniously over to the counter where the books of songs were kept.

"Now, Sasuke-kun, what would you like me to sing?" Ino cooed ingratiatingly at him.

"Hn. I don't care." Sasuke kept his face and voice as blank as possible, even though inside he was raging against her hold.

The blonde girl pouted at him, clinging even more tightly to his arm, either not noticing or not caring that he stiffened even more at her touch. She scanned the list carefully. "Oh, I know! How about this one?" She pointed to the title of a popular love ballad.

"Whatever."

Apparently taking this as encouragement, she signed up to sing next, and skipped away to the stage, winking at him flirtatiously and whispering, "Watch me, Sasuke-kun!"

"Hn." Sasuke remained leaning against the counter, trying to calm his raging emotions. I have to think clearly, he scolded himself, eyes unconsciously scanning the list in front of him. I have to be calm and think clearly or I'll never-

"Oi, Uchiha."

Sasuke just barely refrained from jumping. Shikamaru was standing next to him, eyeing him appraisingly.

"What?"

"Would you do something already? He's not looking good."

Sasuke stared. Shikamaru…knew? "Wha- how?"

The jounin rolled his eyes. "You're both so troublesome. I'm not blind you know! Now will you just do something?" And with that, he turned and walked back to the table.

Sasuke let it go, turning blindly back to the list. But I do have to do something…I need to find the words…

The words…

Onyx eyes caught the title of a song, and widened. He knew that song. He'd been listening to it for the past couple of months on the radio, and had actually liked it enough to learn it. Not that he would ever admit it to anyone else, but he did like to sing along with the radio sometimes, when he was alone and lonely in the evenings.

And it says everything I need to say to him…but…that would mean- He turned and faced the stage, where Ino was belting out the song she had chosen, fluttering her eyes in his direction when she saw that he had finally turned around.

Sasuke swallowed, not even seeing the blonde kunoichi. That would mean getting up on stage and singing…in front of all these people.

A sneer curling his mouth, the last of the Uchiha clan lowered his head. But I can't…I'm too much of a coward…too weak

He raised his head when he felt eyes on him, and caught Naruto looking at him. Sasuke couldn't stop his own eyes widening at the depth of pain and emptiness that flashed briefly before his sight, before Naruto turned away.

He realized abruptly that Naruto's light was dying.

Midnight black eyes stared wide and unseeing as the room around him faded. All the lights disappeared, except for one…that one ray of sunshine that had always shone strongly for him, no matter what the darkness around them…and now that light was fading, dying as he watched, horrified and frozen.

Weak…

A heartbeat, echoing.

Weak…

Not red eyes staring, but blue.

Weak…

Another heartbeat.

If I…Sasuke stood in darkness, watching his sunshine slowly go out. If I…cannot save him now…then I…truly am…

Weak.

Sasuke closed his eyes and opened them again quickly, his surroundings fading back into his awareness. He turned and requested the next song.

Ino finished her song and rejoined the others, basking in their applause, even forgetting for a moment to seek her crush's approval. So it wasn't until Sasuke was walking up the steps to the stage that anyone noticed him.

His entire group went silent with shock.

He was absolutely certain that his heartbeat had never sounded this loud before. He could feel the adrenaline rushing through his veins, as though he were about to enter battle. He kept himself outwardly calm, walking to the microphone and picking it up as though he'd done this a million times before. Is it even possible to feel like you're burning up and a solid piece of ice at the same time?

He flicked his dark eyes once, almost imperceptibly, to Naruto, who was watching him with wide eyes, as were all the other shinobi of their group. Then he set his eyes straight ahead, building in his mind a picture of the only person he could ever truly love.

A spiky shock of golden hair…smooth, tanned skin…whiskered cheeks…eyes to rival the bluest summer sky he'd ever seen…a grin a mile wide…clear, bright laughter…beautiful…strong …

My light, my healing, my peace.

Then the music began, and Uchiha Sasuke took a deep breath and sang:

When you feel all alone
And the world has turned its back on you
Give me a moment please, to tame your wild, wild heart.
I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you
It's hard to find relief, and people can be so cold.
When darkness is upon your door and you feel like you can't take anymore-

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I'll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night.
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart.
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone!

When you feel all alone
And a loyal friend is hard to find
You're caught in a one way street
With the monsters in your head
When hopes and dreams are far away and
You feel like you can't face the day-

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I'll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night.
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart.
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone!

Because there has always been heartache and pain
And when it's over you'll breathe again,
You'll breathe again.

When you feel all alone
And the world has turned its back on you
Give me a moment please,
To tame your wild, wild heart

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I'll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night.
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart.
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone!

He did not dance or even move around. He stood very still, holding the microphone in both hands, staring straight ahead at the image only he could see. His voice, low tenor and baritone, and deep, dark eyes were more than expressive enough.

He sang his heart out, pouring all his emotion into this one song, trying desperately to tell what he had no other way to say.

Then, as the music faded and the cheers and screams of the audience began, Sasuke turned and looked Naruto straight in the eyes. Almost inaudibly, he whispered into the microphone, "Hope you were listening, dobe," and then he was gone in flash of smoke.


Naruto froze, eyes wide, staring at the empty stage as the room around him was rocked with the cheers and screams from all of Sasuke's now-even-more-obsessed-fans.

He had watched intently, just as surprised as everyone else when Sasuke - of all people- got up to sing. He had felt the emotion in the song resonate through him, and had wondered who was lucky enough to have Sasuke sing to her like that – who Sasuke's precious person was.

And then- and then- Sasuke had turned to him. Not to Sakura, not to Ino, not to anyone else in the room, but to him. To Uzumaki Naruto.

He- he was- singing that for me…all that emotion…that…was for me! Vaguely letting his eyes drift over the rest of the room, Naruto realized that no one else had heard Sasuke's final whisper except for himself. If they had, they'd have been piling questions and (in the case of the girls) glares on him right now - not just squealing over how "wonderfully Sasuke-kun sang!"

Someone poked his shoulder. He looked over to find Shikamaru looking at him, one eyebrow raised questioningly. "Well, you gonna sit here staring at the stage all night, or what?"

Okay, so maybe one other person had noticed Sasuke's final words. And, apparently, it did not bother him in the slightest. Still stunned, Naruto nodded and stood, winding his way out through the excited crowd. No one even glanced twice at him.

The blond teen almost stumbled out onto the dark, quiet streets of Konoha, head reeling from the sudden flood of questions and emotions that Sasuke's unexpected song had brought.

Why? His most pressing question. Why would Sasuke do something like that – for me? I know he didn't even want to come tonight – I only made him because he needs to get out more - much less actually sing in front of all those people. So…when did he…when did he decide to do that? And why?

Naruto let his feet walk in whatever direction they pleased - it was late and the streets were cool and empty. If he meant it... he must have! Even before he turned to me, he sang so sincerely, had so much feeling. It sounded as though he were singing to someone that he loved – loved very much. And if that was to me…is that how he feels? Could Sasuke love me?

That sent Naruto's thoughts spinning off in whole new direction, this time laced with a touch of fear. Oh gods...if he does ...can I trust him? He did run away before, betrayed me and the village...though he has come back. But, even if I can trust him - could I deal with losing him? I've never had anyone care about me before - not on that level. I've dealt without it until now, because I've never known it, but...to gain love suddenly, only to lose it again? Even if he doesn't betray me, we're both ninja, and I could easily lose him to a mission or another war...I'm not sure I could deal with that...

He took large breaths of the cool night air, in and out, in and out, trying to calm his raging thoughts. Okay, calm down, baka. He might not have meant it that way at all. He might have just been trying to say that, as a friend, he's here for me.

That thought gave Naruto pause, and he stopped, the street he was on filling with silver light as the moon drifted out from behind the clouds. Yes – yes, he is here for me. In the beginning…at the bridge, in the Chuunin exams…and now, all these months that he's been back…he has been there for me. Even if it was only for sparring or something like that, he'd come around nearly every day, almost like he was checking on me. All his missions - he always comes to see me first thing when he gets back. Naruto started walking again, his steps slower this time, calmer.

It suddenly struck him as odd that the idea of Sasuke loving him wasn't odd. Naruto hadn't ever really stopped to think about his own feelings for the dark-haired shinobi before – they'd been so complicated for so long – just knew that Sasuke was one of (if not the) most important people in his life.

I hated him at first, and we were always rivals. But, somewhere along the way, we got to be friends too, and I'd wondered if that was what having a brother might be like. But then he left, and betrayed us – betrayed me, most of all. It hurt so much – to have him call me the person he cared most about, and then try to kill me. And so I spent the next three years dealing with the hurt, the anger, and the guilt. The guilt was the worst – because it was partly my fault that I couldn't bring him back. But mostly because I…Naruto shut his eyes as the familiar shame surged up. I had forgiven him. I had already forgiven him, long before he came back…I couldn't hate him, forget him, or let him go. Is that love?

And then he came back, and apologized, and has been here for me ever since…and I forgave him more with each passing day. Now, the days I don't see him are so empty…the feelings I get when he's near... Many, many things were slowly clicking into place. All those odd thoughts, stray feelings and scraps of half-remembered dreams...Naruto stilled his wandering feet again. I need to see him, talk to him…I have to ask him what he really meant.

Knowing abruptly that Sasuke was out at the training grounds (more evidence of a bond deeper than he'd realized), Naruto turned irresolute feet in that direction, walking even more slowly than before.

What if he doesn't want to talk? What if he's regretting it? What if that wasn't what he meant at all? Doubt coiled in Naruto's stomach, and he struggled to push it aside.

Heh, I really am a dobe. He meant what he sang – and as for the rest, I'll just have to ask and hope that he wants to talk to me. And if he was trying to say what I think he was…if he does love me…then…well….

Naruto stopped once more. Tilting his head up to the bright light of the nearly-full moon, he felt a gentle breeze sweep through the street, ruffling his hair. Closing his eyes, he let the wind sweep away his doubts.

Then, hesitation gone, he took off for the training grounds.


Sasuke kicked the log with all his might, well aware that he was ruining his pants and not caring in the slightest. Abruptly bored of the repetitive kicking, he flipped backwards, avoiding the coat he had dropped when he first got there. That had been…well, he didn't really know how long it had been. Quite a while ago.

He pretended the log was an enemy, darting in to strike with blows real and feinted, before darting away again, pushing the limits of his speed and agility. He poured all his concentration into the training, refusing to think about earlier, refusing to think about what Naruto's reaction might be.

Naruto – who was now standing behind him at the edge of the clearing.

Sasuke stopped abruptly, still facing the log, and took a moment to calm his gasping breath before turning hesitantly and walking over to face the other shinobi, who was standing in the shadow of the trees, head bowed. He stopped a few feet away, and waited.

Only a moment of silence passed between them before Naruto raised his head to look at Sasuke, his sky blue eyes searching.

"Why?"

The word was barely more than a breath, full of some emotion that Sasuke couldn't name.

"Because I had no words of my own. Because I needed to tell you that I'm here; I see you, I care about you. I acknowledge you. Because-" Sasuke paused, and took the deepest breath of his entire life. "I love you."

Naruto drew in a sharp breath and closed his eyes; something that Sasuke thought was pain flashed across his face.

"Naruto?"

"Do you know that, in the seventeen years of my life, no one has ever said that to me before?"

Sasuke stared. "No one? Not even Iruka-sensei, or-"

"No one. Not once. Until now." Naruto opened his eyes again. He took one step forward, out into the moonlight. His eyes held Sasuke's, probing, looking for something. Sasuke gazed back openly; for once not trying to hide anything…for once not wanting to. He wanted Naruto to see that he meant every word he said, that his love was real. Naruto's eyes were just as open as his own; they faced each other now with all masks stripped completely away.

Naruto slowly bent his head, hands clenching into fists at his sides. After a long moment of silence, he spoke softly.

"I won't lie to you, Sasuke. I'm scared – scared of gaining something I've longed for all my life only to lose it again." Sasuke could well understand that fear; it was what had kept him silent for so long. He nodded, but said nothing.

Naruto went on, voice still low and quiet. "I almost lost you once – and I'm not sure what losing you a second time would do to me. But," he stopped, and let out a breath that might have been a laugh. "But, Sasuke, I think that if I denied this now – denied you and denied how I feel, then that would be losing you a second time. And so, whatever comes of it, I can't do that."

He looked up, face lit with the most brilliant smile of his life.

Sasuke forgot how to breathe.

"Uchiha Sasuke – I love you."

He had never moved so fast as he closed the short distance between them to pull Naruto into his arms. Naruto hugged him back just as hard, tilting his head up slightly to receive Sasuke's soft kiss.

The dark-haired teen pulled away, whispering happily, "Your light is back!" He cut off Naruto's confused "Eh?" with a more heated kiss, and the blond let it go.

Sometime later their kiss ended, but they stayed close, foreheads touching. Remembering an incident from shortly after his return, Sasuke whispered, "Okaeri, Naruto."

Naruto's eyes widened and a happy, genuine grin lit up his face. "Tadaima!"

They stood in the moonlight for a long time, just holding onto each other, knowing that they'd never have to be alone again.

Now that I've found you, I won't ever let you go. I love you. Tadaima.

Owari.

AN: Well...there you have it. Apologies for any cliche/OOCness, and for the extreme sap. Thank you all very much for the reviews!

I'll soon be posting the Omake Epilogues for this story - which involve lots of humor as a counter for the angst and sap. I hope to see you all there!

Sayonara, mina-san!