One-shot SasuNaru. Watch out for sap. It's sticky. Written in response to a picture that stole over my paper, one day. You can find it in my site on Deviantart. It's called "Sasuke, Sleeping" or something.
Rating – PG and that's pretty tame, considering my usual stuff.
Naruto doesn't know when it started, but he knows it isn't something that was there one night and not the next. He vaguely remembers waking to the sound of something, automatically thinking Are we under attack? because they were on a mission—naturally, his first response is to figure out what the noise it.
He turns his head to the sound and sees…
Sasuke. Or what he thinks is Sasuke, anyway. It's hard to tell; all he can make out is one tiny patch of pale skin—neck or shoulder or jaw—dark hair and his shirt-clad back. Sasuke, making noise, curled up into a ball.
Okay. Just Sasuke, he thinks. Go back to sleep now.
The next time it happens it's a different mission; the room they board in is different and Sakura is off on watch. This time, the sound drags him from his dreams as neatly as a drop of rain. Naruto scowls and mumbles and turns his head again to see Sasuke curled up in a ball like before. He can see one hand peeking over the dip of neck and shoulder as if Sasuke had his arms across his chest.
There's that noise again, funny little whimper. Funny, he almost snickers out loud because he's never heard Sasuke sound like such a girl—
Again, the noise, and Naruto is too tired to care. He shifts, muttering to himself because he knows the damn noise will keep him up if he doesn't do something about it, so he does.
He kicks Sasuke with a push of his foot, feels the knee-jerk reaction and the choked little noise and Sasuke freeze—watches through his lashes as Sasuke pulls up his blanket and lets out a sleepy, exhausted noise.
Naruto watches long enough to make sure Sasuke wouldn't keep him up, and goes back to sleep.
It's a habit, now, waking Sasuke. He loses good sleep over keeping himself half-awake on missions because he just can't help it. It always happens, all the time, and Naruto starts to wonder if Sasuke dreams. What he dreams of, if it's enough to make him sound like that, like needles in his eyes or something—
So it becomes a habit. After a while—five, six missions—Naruto stops waking up at every sound and starts waking up to just Sasuke's sounds. He learns them distinctly; the soft inhalation, the twitch-noise, the tiny whimper—even to the rustle of the fabric when he realizes that whatever he dreams of is bad enough to make him tremble.
It's an…uncomfortable thought.
But it's habit, and Naruto doesn't care.
He knows how bad dreams can be, how terrifying and real and utterly desolate it can be when no one's there to wake you.
But he's careful, very very careful, in his nudges and mumbled "…shu-up bassard," and "s'op snoring—" because the last thing he wants to do is have a half-awake, moody Uchiha turning over with a kunai or something.
Naruto is extremely wary of half-awake Uchiha and sharp pointy things, but he's even more wary of what he's trying to do. It's almost like he's…helping Sasuke. Almost like…well, he doesn't want to think that far. They're rivals and Naruto is okay with this.
But rivals—do rivals guard for nightmares? He doesn't know. So he's careful.
One night, he's not so careful. He blames it on his own lack of sleep, or possibly just stupidity, but one mission three countries away and shacked up in this dingy, slat-sided hut with Kakashi outside and Sakura gone on medical-training, Naruto pokes him just a little too hard.
Sasuke's noise is a stifled gasp; he's on his back and Naruto isn't fast enough to take his hand back when Sasuke gets a hold of it.
"What are you doing?" Sasuke hisses, face pale in the slotted moonlight.
"Nothing—" Naruto mutters. "You snore."
"I do not," the Uchiha replies, squeezing, throwing Naruto's hand away. His eyes are dark and unreadable—and if there hadn't been a moon, he would have never seen the uncommon brightness.
Something must have shown in his face, concern or questions or something—Sasuke kicks him and rolls over in a huff and mutters something about throwing stupid dobe-idiots over the next cliff.
If there hadn't been a moon, Naruto would have never seen the confusion either. Another uncommon Sasuke-expression.
Once it's out, it's out. Sasuke spends his time avoiding him or icily refusing to talk anything more than insults—it must have bothered him, Naruto thinks. It should bother him just like it should bother Naruto, but it still…doesn't.
But it's out, and it's affecting their teamwork. Kakashi notices, and while Naruto isn't sure if the man's aware of the reason or not, he starts forcing Sasuke and Naruto to team up on stupid little missions to 'better their working environment' or something.
But the fact that Naruto had let himself form a habit over Sasuke, and for Sasuke to be so weird about it, makes everything awkward.
Thank god sparring stays the same, even though he swears that Sasuke's out to kill him more, though, moving faster and getting a touch more reckless until Naruto nearly hits him in a way that would have broken his ribs.
Panting, Naruto skids out of the way, trips and falls and ends up on his back. He scowls, hoists himself to his feet until Sasuke—still on guard—stares and waits.
"Why don't you just get over it already!" he half-yells. "I'm not making fun of you for it, am I?"
"What are you talking about?" Sasuke snaps back, sullen.
Naruto sets his hands on his hips and glares. "I only wake you up because you wake me up, okay? You and your stupid noises—"
"I don't make noises!" Sasuke flushes, high in the bridge of his face and cheekbones. "Shut up!"
"Well, get over it!" Naruto yells back. "I'm just trying to sleep!"
In response, Sasuke flies at him and the sparring resumes, except it doesn't really feel like sparring. Naruto ends up bleeding from both nose and mouth, wincing at the sting from a few sprained fingers. Sasuke doesn't look any better, a deep set of scratches that Naruto doesn't remember handing out, bruises here and there—maybe he'll feel better now—
Well, maybe not—the Uchiha is stalking off down the path. Naruto watches him go. He wonders in the back of his mind if Sasuke dreams like that at home and what he does when no one's there—what and if and how a perfect stupid kid like Sasuke could have dreams that echo the memories that Naruto doesn't like to have.
They end up on a mission a few weeks later and some secret part of Naruto is glad for it even though Sasuke has pulled his sleeping stuff off to the far side of the room and sets himself to ignore the rest of the team.
Humming to himself, Naruto unwraps his own stuff near enough to Sasuke and gives him the bird when the dark eyes glare at him. "Better me than Sakura," he comments lightly. "You wanna wake up with her all over you?"
Discreetly, Sasuke shudders. His mouth sets, and Naruto knows he's won some little something in whatever game they're playing. Not that Sasuke gives a lot away; he just doesn't bother to look up at Naruto again, rolls himself in his blanket with his back to the world.
After that, things are sometimes simpler. Sasuke makes a noise, any noise or a familiar one, and Naruto blinks before he realizes it, the back of his hand nudging up against the warm, shivering back. Sometimes he catches the edge of a shoulder blade under his knuckles, sometimes the knobs of a spine.
Naruto knows he doesn't always wake Sasuke when he does this; it's been happening so long now, almost a year, that he's learned to recognize the sound Sasuke makes when he settles into a lighter, dreamless sleep and when he wakes up completely and shivers just a bit harder in the wake of his demons.
What isn't so simple is the stupid thing that Naruto does one night. Afterward, he will tell himself it was because Sasuke was too deep for a simple touch, but really…
Really, it was the soft, broken little noise that Naruto recognizes as crying. The fingers to his back only confirm it; shaking is usually regular, gentle—the shudders down Sasuke's form are anything but nightmare-shivers.
Sasuke is crying.
Sasuke won't wake up, he can tell, the little noises are caught in his throat and Sasuke's crying—
Naruto rolls to his side, uncertain and drawn and unable to make himself reach out at first. "Sasuke?" he tries very lightly, very carefully. Barely breathing, barely a sound—
Nothing but those anguished whimpers—
For the first time, Naruto touches with his fingertips and not the back of his hand, skims without breathing over the tense, curved Sasuke-ball. Should he shake him? Poke him? Whisper louder?
After a moment that seems like nothing, Naruto isn't so far away and edges one light, careful hand up the shoulder. This close he can tell that Sasuke has his legs drawn up, senses the spasms. This close, he can see the fine whorl of hairs on one side of Sasuke's neck, the paleness of his cheek. One hand peeking up and clenched, Sasuke's face is pressed against crook in his forearms, hiding from something.
This close, Naruto isn't sure how he ends up with one arm easing over the tension-locked arms, the other between Sasuke's back and his chest. He doesn't know how he ends up with a forehead pressed against the skin on the back of Sasuke's neck.
He just doesn't know. But it happens and Naruto lets himself wrap fingers over the nearest wrist and tells himself it's in defense if Sasuke got a case of the sharp pointies.
"Sasuke," he whispers a little louder this time—
—and Sasuke, of course, wakes up with a wrench, freezing, testing lightly the restrain that Naruto has. His breathing sounds thick and after a moment, he shudders.
And Naruto does the stupidest thing he's ever done. "…what do you dream about—ow! Don't bite me!" he hisses. "I'll bite you back!"
Teeth unfasten and leave him with the unpleasant sensation of spit cooling on his skin.
"Ew," he mutters. "Gross. I'm just trying to help, asshole,"
"Let go," Sasuke whispers, or tries—his voice creaks and breaks in the middle.
"No," Naruto mutters, pushing with his forehead. "You're a jerk. You didn't have to bite me." He can feel the way the shoulders twitch under his arm and says, again—this possibly being the second stupidest thing. "What kind of—how bad was it?"
Sasuke must be tired because he does that odd little noise and curls tighter. "…you won't understand," he cracks out again. "Let go."
Naruto makes a rude noise and threatens to kick him with his knees. "…stupid. You're stupid." Hair falls in his face and he tucks his head down again until he nudges between the shoulderblades, sighs. "I used to dream I was invisible," he offered.
Sometimes, he knows exactly how to push Sasuke's buttons. Sometimes without even trying. Something twists uneasily at the memory he's dragging forth; it isn't one of his pleasant ones, but then, he doesn't have that many when he counts the good against all the bad.
But Sasuke's stilled, somewhat, and Naruto drags it up and out before he can talk himself into being quiet.
"That no one could see me, no matter what. Like I was dead, or everyone else was, or—or—" Naruto shudders just a bit. "Then I'd wake up and it was real. That's what it felt like, anyway. I always dreamed that…over and over, every night, until I'd wake up because I fell out of bed."
Sasuke is silent to the point where Naruto realizes he isn't shaking as much anymore. He wonders what Sasuke could be thinking, if Sasuke would do the asshole thing and mock him now. It wouldn't bother him, but he'd have to try and kick Sasuke's ass for it—and he isn't sure he wants to worry about that, yet.
"No one would wake you up?" Sasuke speaks so low that Naruto nearly misses it.
"…no. I had a nurse or nanny or something when I was three...but if I had a nightmare, she'd…she'd just send me back to bed…" Naruto makes a strangled sound that might have been laughter. "I'd wake her up and she'd swat me and push me out of her room…I didn't have anyone…"
In the quiet, Naruto makes a disgruntled, furious little noise. "I hated her."
Sasuke is silent again. He's uncurled enough that Naruto's arm is flat over his chest, Sasuke's forearms up and chin nudging near the wrist. He can feel Sasuke breathing over his skin, short and light.
"…I," Sasuke begins, stops to draw in a breath so ragged Naruto wonders if he's crying again. "I dream of my parents. Of everyone. The streets and all the blood and everyone—everyone's dead in my dreams, too, only it's my fault."
Naruto can't reply to this; he can feel Sasuke's heartbeat under his palm, and the flex of his torso when he breathes, but he can't reply. Not even when he hears the low sound echo further.
"I always see my mother. Father. I-Ita-Itachi—" Sasuke gasps or sobs and makes a sound similar to the sound Naruto used to hear himself make; muffled, anguished rage because nothing was fair and the world was nothing but hate.
"I'll keep waking you up, if you want," Naruto whispers. "That's a crappy dream."
Sasuke makes a series of sniffles because his nose is running. "…idiot," he mumbles. He tenses and tries to shrug off Naruto's hand. "Get off."
Naruto does, only because Sasuke hadn't meant it offensive; he was just like that with the touching thing. Naruto understand that. So he pulls his arm back, grunting, rolling over until his back is near enough to Sasuke to touch, if one or the other chose.
And that's simple enough.
It forges a strange understanding after that even though Sasuke allows Naruto's moments of touch only at night. Naruto understands this only because he had tried to bring it up during the day, once, and Sasuke nearly took his arm off countering his punch.
It's not something that Sasuke's ready to deal with outside of the weakness of sleep, and he understands that too.
It's okay, even though Naruto really wants to know what Sasuke does when he has nightmares at home.
For the first time, Naruto doesn't remember waking up during the night. He's aware of this in the gray-light morning because of one reason only, and that's Sasuke.
Because Sasuke is watching him, soot-dark eyes half-open and face oddly peaceful. Mussed hair in his face. Sleep-imprints on his cheek.
Sasuke hasn't dreamed. Naruto hasn't woken him.
But Sasuke's watching him over the plains of their blankets. Naruto shivers, blinks sleepily before he realizes what he's staring back at. Frowns, confused, rubs the heel of his hand over his eyes and grunts something that could be considered 'good morning' if you knew him.
Sasuke's mouth doesn't smile, but Naruto can see it twitch lightly at the corner of his mouth.
Naruto makes a tiny, similar face because that was almost a smile, and a good-morning smile deserves one in return.
Sasuke hasn't held a nightmare in his head for a while; Naruto isn't sure if this holds to just missions, or missions and home-sleep. He doesn't ask, knows better than to ask, and shrugs when Sasuke appears one afternoon and tosses him a question.
"Spar?" Sasuke asks.
One morning on a mission to some high, little mountain village, Sasuke's awake before he is and Naruto gets the weird, odd-heat thought that Sasuke was watching him sleep.
But he doesn't care, because a sleepy, unavoidably attractive smile curves from one corner to the other from behind Sasuke's curled fingers. It lays between them as gentle as the smile does and Naruto's hand is lurking nearby in the blankets. Their fingers brush, Sasuke's hair sliding slowly into his face as the smile hides itself and Naruto…
Naruto finally remembers to breath. Whoa. No wonder the girls thought—
It's summer and they're sparring. It always seems that they're sparring, now—except that it's more like practice and Naruto knows he's winning. Even with Sasuke throwing himself into sparring with everything he has, Naruto knows that today is just one of those nice, in-your-face training days.
Which is great, even as he straddles Sasuke to pin home his win and wait—the eyes glint in a way that Naruto recognizes as the morning look—and he pauses.
His brow stitches itself as he inhales, a question similar to "Why do you look at me like that?" just on the edge of his breath—he can feel Sasuke's chest against his, breath to breath Sasuke slipping free of the hold Naruto has on his wrists.
Then Sasuke does…something.
He reaches up until Naruto realizes his fingers are tight over the unzipped collar of his jacket, pulling, down—what!
Sasuke is kissing him. His mouth is warm, and Naruto isn't sure when he's closed his eyes or stopped breathing but Sasuke's mouth is smooth and warm and dry but for the wetness that opens up under his mouth—
—Sasuke was kissing him and that was his tongue slick warm heat—
Naruto makes a startled little noise and it breaks between them until Naruto finds his breath, hovering over Sasuke not speaking, not moving, just staring until Sasuke's throat shifts, swallows.
"Whoa," Naruto blinks to keep his heart inside, shivers. "You just kissed me," he states. His balance shifts to the side and sits with a thump, Sasuke up with grass sticking in his hair. He isn't looking at Naruto, but Naruto doesn't notice.
"…it doesn't matter," Sasuke mutters. "I'm going home—"
Naruto blinks again because Sasuke's on his feet and already too far away and Naruto is so used to knowing Sasuke that he can see the tension that straightens through the shoulders.
Three things pass through his head—the first is a resounding, shocked He kissed me that jumps higher than the Me! and finally a deep, worried, anxious Maybe he'll kiss me, even if he knows—
"Sasuke!" he cries, on his feet and darting after the shadow-dappled boy, not even caring not even bothered because it didn't feel like a nightmare. "Wait—Sasuke, wait!"
Sasuke doesn't turn and doesn't stop, not even when Naruto stumbles and nearly crashes into him, lets himself fall to avoid the Uchiha and grapples with one slender foot.
"Hey! I'm trying to tell you something!" Naruto wheezes from the ground, annoyed and yanking on the leg.
"Let go," Sasuke mumbles and from this angle, Naruto can see the flicker of a miserable blush staining his cheeks.
"No, asshole," Naruto says, strained and unsure and stubborn, all in one little voice. "S-Sit. I…I want to tell you…something. It's…it's stupid."
Sasuke doesn't sit, but he doesn't pull away, either, so Naruto is okay with that.
"I…you kinda startled me," Naruto mumbles, finally sitting on his butt and touching fingers to the hard muscle of Sasuke's thigh under his shorts. "I…I've never kissed anyone, you know, because of—"
"Of what?" Sasuke's voice is clear with hesitation, cloudy in the next moment because Naruto isn't getting out the right words.
"Because—" Naruto exhales and leans his forehead over his trembling fingers. His mouth tingles. He tingles, and it's a tingle that makes him feel sick and worried that Sasuke—
"If—if you knew something that about me that—I don't know—made you have nightmares…I just…you wouldn't want—" Naruto shudders and swallows what feels like stones. "Would you hate me?"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Sasuke replies and Naruto shrugs, slowly, turning his head until he can see the hand near his face, dirt and grass-stained fingers. Hands that have hit him, hands that caught him, hands that—
"Everyone hates me," Naruto manages to state as simply as possible, can't move for the engulfing panicky calm. "Everyone in the village. Because of what they did to me. The fox, I mean. They put the fox in me and everyone…"
For a long while in the space of heartbeat, there is nothing but a quick suck of breath when Sasuke figures it out. Sasuke doesn't speak, doesn't move, not even a twitch in his fingers because Naruto watches.
"It's okay," Naruto finally whispers, leg curled underneath and withdrawing, away, inches gone from the warmth of Sasuke's skin and presence. "I didn't think you'd want to, either…"
"…" is all he hears right before Sasuke drops to his knees in front of him, shoulders under bruising fingers, brief wild glimpse of wide, disbelieving eyes and worlds and worlds of questions—
—right before Sasuke cups his face, searching, staring, watching in one crystalline moment—
—right before Sasuke kisses him, again and never answers. Never speaks, because it's just the way Sasuke is. Actions instead of words. It doesn't matter. He's not sleeping; this isn't a dream and Naruto—
Naruto thinks with a funny little noise when he pulls Sasuke closer that he's still going to lose sleep over the bastard no matter what he tries.
(………in the end, they both lost sleep. )