Disclaimer- I don't own Naruto and all that legal jazz.

The first thing Sasuke, the real, snarky asshole of a best friend Sasuke (not the other one, the angry one with a thousand birds in hand) said to him, after their fight- more like a miserable, awful deathmatch, was quiet, in the way that only someone who's had all their body broken several times over can speak in.

"Where are you taking me?"

There's no stutter, just a deep, confused rasp. Sasuke's never stuttered, Naruto reflects, nor has he wavered. Not once.

Naruto grunts and hefts Sasuke on his back a bit, carrying him in a most undignified piggyback ride.

"Home." He answers, just one word for everything he fought for.

There's blood mixing between them, Sasuke's cuts and bruises are Naruto's and vice versa, they've become a single boy, a mess of bloodied flesh and exhaustion.

Sasuke looks at him clearly with ebony eyes. A bit of blood is trying to shut one down, from the claws of Naruto's Kyubi chakra, if he remembers correctly.

"Where's that?" Sasuke whispers, into his ear.

Naruto doesn't stop, but he pauses. Kakashi's probably ahead, finishing off Kabuto, and Sakura must have dealt with the other Sound nins by now. The old lady was waiting back at the Hidden Leaf, tied up by being the Godaime Hokage.

He turned back to answer, but Sasuke had passed out.


"I don't know." Naruto says quietly, across the gray emptiness of the hospital room.

Sasuke's been placed in the same room, more to keep Sakura from having to fret about which one of her boys she should be visiting, and the fact that no one wants either the Kyubi kid or the Uchiha traitor around while they're injured.

His ex-enemy/ex-ex-best comrade/teammate/brother looks at him piercingly, his hair matted down by white bandages. "Then why the Hell am I here?" he demands.

Sakura opens the door, and smiles at both of them.

There's a light in her eyes, there's a light in their eyes that reflects her's.

Naruto doesn't need to answer anymore.


Sasuke's breathes in the smoky air, whispers of the night tickling his skin. He hates the hospital room- it's where people go when they've become weak and an easy reminder of the penultimate result of birth, death.

So he's on the roof and breathing in like an addict taking a smoke after a long week.

"It's nice up here." He says softly, more for effect than meaning.

"It's alright." Naruto agrees, leaning against the fence and tapping his fingers against the cold metal that digs into his back.

"Where am I going to go?" Sasuke asks quietly, his voice barely standing in the winds.

Naruto pushes off the fence, and looks up at the untouchable moon. "Wherever you want." He replies with more wisdom than he should have, and heads back inside.

Sasuke stands there for only a moment, and then follows after Naruto.


Naruto understands that its four A.M. but he doesn't understand why Sasuke, of all people, is at his door.

"I've got nowhere to go." Sasuke says, quietly holding his simple knapsack that has everything he needs.

"Ask Sakura." He mumbles, still coping with the fact that its four A.M.

"She's a girl." Sasuke replies in lieu of an answer, and there's the slightest tint of red in the moonlight.

That's true, Naruto knows, but not the truth.

"Fine. Bathroom's on the left, don't wake me up till twelve. I've got a genin team." Naruto moves aside, letting Sasuke close the door for himself.

"Why twelve?" Sasuke asks, standing inside of the door. He's not really surprised Naruto's a jounin now, but the idea of Naruto being of the same rank as Kakashi is still disconcerting.

"Gives me an excuse for being late."

It would probably have helped if he had taken less of Kakashi's habits, though.


"I don't like it here." Sasuke says, blunt as ever as he stares at Naruto across their breakfast table.

"Then leave." Naruto shrugs, haphazardly devouring his ramen. "I told you, you can do whatever the Hell you want."

He leaves after that, tossing away the instant ramen into the trash bin, and leaving the door hanging slightly in his wake.

Sasuke frowns, and waits like a prophet for some great revelation.

It doesn't come, and he shuts the door.


"Where are you going?" Sasuke asks, after dinner as Naruto grabs his vest and his wallet.

"Sakura's working late again. I'm the one that gets her food when she can't." Naruto explains, opening the door. He pauses, and looks back with just the barest hint of a smile. "You want to come?"

Sasuke doesn't answer, but grabs his coat. "You're still paying for it." He grunts, slipping his arms into the garment.

"Doesn't matter to me." Naruto shrugs, rolling his shoulders as he smiles in the light.


Sakura's asleep when they get there (something Naruto explains is quite common), and so they slip in quietly, not wanting to wake her just yet.

"She works so hard." Sasuke comments, because that's what people do when someone has an admirable quality.

"Yeah." Naruto brushes aside the hair-thin scrolls that are old and decrepit, letting the old fall away as he places the warm, newly purchases food on the desk.

Sakura wakes up as he does, and looks at him with a sleepy smile and a happy light. "Thanks Naruto," she begins, and notices the other one- then again, he hadn't always been there. "And you too, Sasuke."

Naruto doesn't hide his smile, letting it shine like sunlight.

Sasuke lets the night hide what could be a smile.


Another night of Sakura working hard (sometimes, Sasuke wonders if she stays just so they will come for her), and another, and another, until its something they do out of habit, even if Sakura finishes on time.

Sakura finishes first as usual, being the most famished, and yawns, stretching against her chair. Naruto grins and Sasuke smiles, and of course, she smiles back.

Naruto's on his third helping (he's slow today, having had a late lunch), and Sasuke as usual is eating like a bird, being picky about ramen.

So Naruto, in frustration, hands him a plate of dango that he bought while the other was in the bathroom.

"Is this good enough for you?" Naruto asks, still wearing his invincible grin.

Sasuke poked dubiously at the offering, and then looked up, to Naruto's waiting grin, to Sakura's patient light.

He tried it, and found it worked for him.