AN: That awkward moment when you're looking through your works in progress and go "oh crap has it really been 5 months since I last updated?" Anyway, enjoy the final piece, which is brought to you by Emo-Kid-Sasuke.
Chapter 4: Oblivious
Sasuke was still staring at Naruto even as the blond put his remaining tickets into his wallet, as if what he had just said was nothing more than commenting on the weather.
He tried to speak, but all he managed was opening and closing his mouth a few times, as a few choked noises escaped him in the process.
Date? Date? This was a date? That could not be right! He would have known, right? Of course he would have! Sasuke was smart!
Oh, oh. Now he got it. Logic returned with the crashing reality that this was a joke. Another one of Naruto's many jokes. Of course he would joke about something like this, because Naruto made fun of everything in life.
It still sort of hurt, but Sasuke could not blame the blond. It was not like Naruto knew, after all. He was just acting as he normally would.
Tension left his body, until all that remained was weariness. He needed to stop getting worked up over all the innuendo and games. He was taking a joke way too seriously and it was only going to get himself burned.
There was little heart in the small smile he offered to Naruto who looked up at him. The blond blinked, then hitched a thumb toward the door. "Ready?"
They left the arcade behind, Sasuke still holding onto the oversized toad plush. It was strange looking, and he rather wished Naruto had picked out something a little less...grand.
Of course, it would not be Naruto if it was not large, flashy, and obnoxious.
He grimaced. The more and more he thought about everything, the more bitter he was becoming about it. Who had he been fooling? Did he really think this was going to end well for him? He would either torture himself by being close to the blond and unable to do anything about it, or ruin a friendship because he did do something about it. Really, Sasuke did not want to lose any of the camaraderie that was there.
Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he checked the time. Good, it was late enough he could make a viable excuse and get away with it. "Hey, Naruto. It's getting late. I need to be going."
Naruto slowed down in his step, falling into stride with the brunet. "Oh, man. I wasn't even paying attention to the time. Skeeball is a frickin' timesink, I tell ya."
Not even aware of the troubled waters Sasuke's mind was floating in, he continued. "We should totally do this again. Maybe like, in a couple of days? What's your schedule this week?"
Sasuke grimaced, eyes falling to the sidewalk. Why did he have to be so oblivious? And perfect? This was so stupid. "Uh, I don't know. I'll check on my schedule and get back to you, OK?"
"Oh... OK," Naruto blinked over at him in confusion, scratching his head. "You all right?"
Damn him. Sasuke nodded stiffly. "Yep. Thanks for the date, Naruto." It took himself a moment to realize his slip up and his eyes widened underneath dark bangs. Out of the corner of his vision, he saw Naruto whip his head over to him.
Oh shit. Oh, shit.
However, the blond simply grinned. "Best one yet. No girls expecting me to buy everything, I got to go to an arcade, and you don't wear smelly perfume. Win-win all around."
Sasuke released the breath he was holding. This time, he could not believe himself for being relieved Naruto was so dense about his feelings.
They reached the intersection ahead of them, coming to a stop as they waited for the light. "I gotta go right. How about you?"
"Ah, OK. Well, I'll see ya later. Text me your schedule!"
Sasuke was about to reply when all of the sudden Naruto's hand cracked across his backside, which sent the brunet rolling up onto the tips of his toes, eyes wide open. With a cackle, the blond took off across the street.
Flushing, the brunet stalked off, hiding his face from the other pedestrians with the toad plush.
The weekend came and went, and Sasuke managed to avoid Naruto through the first half the week. Sakura kept trying to pry information out of her friend, and in response Sasuke would ignore her in favor of the sudoku app on his phone. Eventually, she got frustrated and left him to his own devices. It was frustrating. He just wanted to be left alone; could she not see that? Once his heart healed a little bit, then he could tell her. Surely she would understand. He never kept anything from her unless it was too close to his heart or really important (like what he got her for her birthday last year. Sakura still had not realized Sasuke was never going to give her hints.)
However, it was Tuesday night when he got a text from Naruto asking about his schedule. Sasuke grimaced, because he had not thought up a good response to not hurt Naruto's feelings and keep his distance. He was not good at this socializing thing! He sat on his bed, staring at his phone for the better half of an hour, until he got a second text from Naruto, "Helllooooooo?"
Sasuke rolled his eyes. Not everyone lived on their phone.
Finally, after the third text Naruto sent that threatened to send pictures of mating toads if he did not get a response, Sasuke picked up his phone. Try as he might, he just could not be angry at the annoyingly cute blond.
He could be stern, though.
"Sorry, been busy. I won't have time this week to do anything. Project due next Monday."
That would at least keep him away for a while.
Unfortunately, Sasuke forgot to count in Naruto's ability to foil any and every plan.
Lunch came with Sasuke seeking out his preferred table in the corner of the cafeteria. A thick textbook was open in front of him, his eyes glued to the words as he idly munched on a carrot. He almost did not register someone sitting down next to him until he remembered only Sakura ever sat down beside him, and she did not smell like cologne.
Slowly, almost cautiously, Sasuke lifted his gaze from the details of the ilium, ischium and pubis to see Naruto staring at his text book, one blond brow arched incredulously. A mouthful of noodles hung out of his mouth, and he proceeded to slurp them up before lifting his eyes to Sasuke. "Huh. You mean the hip bone isn't one bone?"
Sasuke blinked several times in succession, unable to even dignify the comment with a response. Also, he was fairly certain Naruto did not share the same lunch period as he did. "Um. Aren't you supposed to be in class?"
"Batted my eyelashes until Iruka gave in and let me go early. Told him I had to meet up with a friend for a project."
"You lied?" Sasuke asked dubiously.
Naruto looked affronted. "What? No, no, I don't lie. You're my friend, and our project is planning on hooking Sakura with Neji. Whadaya think?"
Sasuke nearly choked on the piece of carrot he had been chewing. Coughing and sputtering he stared at Naruto. "What?"
"Well, OK, maybe that part is a bit of a fib, but man wouldn't that be funny? I think being a matchmaker would be hilarious!"
Of course, everything was hilarious to Naruto. Sasuke suppressed the urge to sigh, staring blankly down at his textbook. "Yeah, I bet."
Naruto blinked, glancing over at him. "What's bothering you? You're not usually so dour."
Sasuke was about to reply with "nothing" when he paused, brow furrowing. Looking back over at blue eyes, he could not help but blurt out, "You know what dour means?"
Naruto rolled his eyes, taking another mouthful of food. "I'm full of surprises, haven't you realized this yet, Sasuke?"
Sasuke sighed, blowing some of his hair out of his face. "Yeah, you are. Oh, I promised someone I would exchange notes with them. I'll see ya around." And before Naruto could even reply, the Uchiha had taken off.
Naruto stared after his new friend, his expression pensive.
"No, Sakura. I told you, I'm not going to talk about it!" Sasuke's words were laced with frustration, his normal quiet disposition forgotten. He paced his bedroom, phone against his ear. "What? Ugh, no. It has nothing to do with Naruto! I just have some stuff going on and I just wanna deal with it myself!"
Whatever his pink-haired friend was saying on the other side, it obviously was not pacifying. "Sakura, seriously, back off! I said I wasn't going to talk about it, and I'm not going to talk about it! Argh! Good night!"
Angrily, he hung up, flinging his phone onto his bed. It was a Friday night, and the week had been one of painful avoiding of Naruto and Sakura. The latter was too wise for her own good, and it was driving Sasuke crazy. He did not want to lie, but he really just wanted to be left alone.
Couldn't a guy sulk in peace?
Running a hand through dark hair, the teenager glanced at his clock. Perhaps he could just go walk off some of his frustration and clear his head. Grabbing up his phone and wallet, he trotted downstairs and out of his house. The sky was already dark, but the clouds were sparse and the moon nearly full. Between that and the streetlamps, his way was well-lit. It took him little time to get down to the park he enjoyed frequenting, and he knew the paths well enough to not worry about the reduction of light.
There was nary a soul out in the park, and he rather enjoyed the solitude. Hands shoved in his pockets, he walked aimlessly through the trails and paths, finally coming up on his favorite bench. It overlooked the slight slope down to the lake, and was often where he sat when he came to feed the geese. With a flop he dropped down onto the bench, tilting his head up to the sky. Things sucked right now. Really, life could be much worse, he knew that, but it still did not mean things did not suck.
So caught up in his thoughts, he did not hear the crunching of grass until a figure came into his peripheral vision. He jumped as the other person sat down next to him, and it was only because he recognized Naruto's face that he did not deck him. Wide eyes stared at the blond who had leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.
"Naruto... what are you doing out here?" Sasuke finally asked once he found his voice and his heart had stopped hammering in his chest.
Naruto shrugged, staring out over the water. "Sakura told me you'd be out here."
Sasuke stared. "Sakura?"
"Yeah. Said you like to go to the park when you wanna think."
Damn, Sakura knew him too well. "Oh. Wait, why were you talking to Sakura about me?"
Naruto sighed, rolling his eyes upward. "We were discussing how dense you were."
"Excuse me?" Sasuke could not help but feel a little insulted by that.
"Well, maybe it's my fault," Naruto amended, his tone becoming thoughtful. "I just assumed you'd figure it out without me having to spell it out for ya. But then you started acting all weird, and I kept wondering if I had done somethin' wrong."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Naruto," Sasuke said, exasperation leaking through his words.
Naruto propped his head up on his fist, tilting his face toward the teen sitting next to him. It was a strange expression, one of relaxed, casual thought. Finally, he focused his eyes on Sasuke and said, "I like you."
Sasuke arched a brow. "Yeah, I couldn't tell, with your animosity and unfriendly nature."
For once, he saw a look of irritation flash across Naruto's face. The blond paused, made a disgruntled face, and tried again. "Sasuke. I like you. Like how I know you like me."
Naruto did not need the sun to see Sasuke stiffen, a stunned look on his face. The blond tilted his head more so, watching the teen beside him process the information. It was kind of funny to observe, and it took a lot of willpower on Naruto's part to keep from laughing, because then Sasuke would get the wrong idea.
"I..." The brunet started, trying to find words, before his brain finally blurted out, "I thought you were straight!?"
Naruto shrugged, "I never said that."
"I've seen you date girls!"
Sasuke stared, clearly perturbed. Finally, Naruto sighed and rolled his eyes. "Why do we always have to categorize ourselves? I like who I like, and I really don't give a shit if you're a dude or a chick. If I like you, then I like you. It's simple; why are you making a big deal out of it?"
Sasuke shook his head, brain still fried from Naruto's declaration of interest, and easy explanation. All this time, he really had been flirting and Sasuke had been utterly oblivious. "Why didn't you just tell me?"
Naruto shrugged again. "I asked Sakura what would be the best way to approach you. She said 'be his friend before anything else.' So I figured I'd get to know you better, and just see where we ended up, but damn you're not very good at this. All the blushing and stuff was cute 'n all, but I almost gave up after you started ignoring me!"
Sasuke shrunk back a little, embarrassed, "Sorry... I just. I didn't think I had a chance, and I didn't want to hurt our friendship. So I tried to give myself space to get over you. Sakura was right, though. You being my friend really means a lot to me."
"It could be a lot more if you let it, Sasuke," Naruto said pointedly.
Sasuke ducked his head, grinning. "Think so?"
"Yeah, totally. You have no idea how much I wanna do things like this in public." Before Sasuke could prompt what 'this' was, Naruto grabbed his chin firmly and proceeded to drag his tongue up the side of Sasuke's cheek, as he had after Lee's party.
"Augh, Naruto!" Sasuke scowled, wiping at his face. Naruto broke into laughter, clutching at his stomach. "See? It's great!"
"It is not. And you will not be doing that in public."
Wiping at the corners of his eyes, Naruto tried to reign in his laughter. "Fine, fine. How about this instead?" He leaned in only to find Sasuke's hand catching his shoulder, suspecting another prank. The brunet's eyes widened slightly as Naruto winked at him, his eyes twinkling. Unrelenting, he pushed against Sasuke's hand until their noses bumped, and their lips met briefly. He pulled back just enough to look at the brunet before him whose breath was coming out in soft, shallow pants, before he leaned in again.
This time, he got Sasuke to kiss back, and this time, when he pulled away, the brunet was breathless.
Grinning, Naruto flopped back beside Sasuke, grabbing his hand up and twining their fingers. Heart pounding in his chest, Sasuke simply focused on the lingering sensation of hot lips against his own and the warmth of Naruto's fingers through his.
He was totally going to buy Sakura a spa package for this.
AN: And there you have it folks. Thanks for all the reviews, follows and favs! I do apologize I don't much write in Naruto anymore, and hope this at least appeases some of you. Kenshin has taken back my heart with a fiery passion and an amazing live-action movie, so until I find the gumption to try and finish all my other old works, you won't see much of me in the Naruto world. Still, it's been great!