Author's note: Here's the conclusion! And sorry to disappoint some of you, but it's Shounen-Ai for a reason. ;; Gomen!
Three elephants and fourteen trumpets.
That was all that Sasuke's brain could manage as he woke, wincing at the intense morning light. His head was pounding viciously, every sound and sight magnified a million times over.
Groaning pathetically, he ran his fingers through his hair and clutched at his aching skull. Another dream about Naruto last night. God, will I EVER get a break from him? He attempted to peel one eye open again, barely able to take the assault of the lit room. At least this time I managed to stay asleep for the good part.
A part of him stirred at the memory. Having Naruto here, finally kissing him and pushing him down on the kitchen table—though that was odd. Why the kitchen table?—in his dreams was almost a relief after all the tormenting dreams of the last month. Though really, the ending could've used some work...
Grunting, Sasuke peeled his face off the table, one hand sliding from his hair to slap against the polished wood. He winced at the sound, the noise reverberating through his skull like three sugar high kangaroos.
...Hold up. Table?
Blinking blearily through his swimming vision, Sasuke slowly took in the room around him. He was sitting at his kitchen table, where he'd supposedly dumped himself after Naruto...
Slowly removing his other hand from his hair, Sasuke began to shake his head. No. It couldn't be. I know I got drunk at Kiba's party, so I must have...I must have passed out, and someone brought me here...or maybe I walked here and didn't realize it... Frowning, Sasuke scratched the back of his head, mussing his already gravity-defying rooster tail. There's just no way that Naruto brought me back here. He was drunk, too, wasn't he?
An odd, tense feeling settled about his shoulders as Sasuke gingerly rose from his chair. Glaring in confusion at the table, he began to dismiss the cold ball of dread curling in his stomach.
I must've just crashed in here last night, once I got home. That's probably why I dreamt about Naruto...after that lap dance, I probably even imagined that he walked me all the way here. Desperately clinging to that train of logic, Sasuke pulled a strained smirk. I couldn't have been so stupid as to...
Sasuke froze, one hand sprawled on the table, his body turned to walk—stumble, whatever—out of the kitchen. His eyes focused on a particular spot on the table, the blood draining from his face.
No...it can't be. It CAN'T be.
A blonde hair rested in the center of the table.
As if in a trance, Sasuke slowly moved around the table and reached out, grasping the hair with his thumb and forefinger and slowly lifting it in the air. The morning light caught on the fine strand, illuminating the gold like a splash of fire. Sasuke's hand began to tremble.
"Naruto's...hair...is on my table," he enunciated slowly. His breath shortened and his vision swayed. "That...that means..."
Legs suddenly weak, Sasuke stumbled backwards until his back hit the refrigerator, sliding down it.
THAT WASN'T A DREAM!
"Oh...god..." Sasuke choked out, his bottom hitting the floor. I really let him into my house last night. I actually... Sasuke swallowed audibly. I actually pushed him down on the table and...and humped him.
Sasuke began shaking violently, bringing his hands up to clutch desperately at his arms. That wasn't a dream last night. I practically forced myself on him, and he...he pushed me off...and the look on his face when he left was...
Abruptly, Sasuke leapt to his feet, stumbled to the sink, and retched violently.
After a few minutes, Sasuke's shaking legs collapsed, and he rested his head against the cool wood of a cabinet, his hands still clutching the edge of the sink.
"He knows," Sasuke ground out, his voice hoarse. "He knows everything. Everything."
Grinding his forehead back and forth against the cabinet, he let out a choked sob.
Naruto sat in his favorite seat at Ichiraku's, absentmindedly stirring his ramen with his chopsticks. A soft frown marred his face as he stared blindly into the steaming bowl.
Last night... Sighing, he sat up and ran a hand through his hair. Where the hell did that COME from? Since when has Sasuke been...attracted to me? His frown deepened. And why did it take him getting roaring drunk to admit it?
The more he thought about it, the less Naruto was sure of what he was actually upset about. The kiss-fest, the shock, or the secret. He tried to think back over the events of the night, but he only succeeded in blushing wildly and ducking his head down. Geez, Sasuke...
Glancing up, he smiled weakly as Sakura came trotting up to him. "Morning, Sakura-chan."
She sat next to him and glanced at his still mostly full bowl, but she refrained from commenting. Tipping her head, she let her pink hair fall to the side.
"Naruto, have you seen Sasuke-kun this morning?"
He stiffened slightly. "Sasuke?"
"Yeah. I've been asking around, but no one's seen him since last night. I figured that if anyone had, it would be you."
He glanced up, his face carefully curious. "Why me?"
Sakura blinked at him, then shrugged. "Well, you took him home last night—" She missed the way Naruto's face abruptly rivaled a tomato— "And you're the one closest to him, after all."
Naruto turned back to his bowl, thinking about that one. That's true. We've been watching each other's backs for years, even after the whole Orochimaru thing. Even if we fight and we're mean to each other, I've never felt uneasy around Sasuke. Hell, sometimes being around him is the only time I feel NORMAL.
"...No, I haven't seen him," he answered belatedly. Sakura sighed, rising to her feet.
"Well, I'll drop by his house and see if he's there. I'll see you later, Naruto."
Naruto started to watch her go, his brain running as slow as molasses.
When she turned to look at him, he placed a sheepish grin on his face, sliding a hand behind his head.
"Would you do me a favor?"
The cheerful sounds of villagers enjoying the festival couldn't filter into the darkened house on the deserted street. Every shade was pulled shut, every door and window was locked, and not one light was on.
Deep in the shadows, Sasuke sat, huddled, in the center of his bed. His knees were drawn up to his chest, his arms were wrapped tightly around them, and his face was pressed against his knees. Not a sound ventured into the dark room.
Staring blankly ahead, and glad that he couldn't see anything, Sasuke tried to keep his mind relatively free of thought. If he didn't think, then he wouldn't have to think about...
He squeezed his eyes shut, gritting his teeth. What the fuck am I going to DO? He'll never talk to me again; hell, the next time he sees me, he'll probably beat the shit out of me.
Somewhere amidst his turbulent thoughts, he dimly wondered what time it was. It didn't matter...if it were up to him, he'd stay holed up in here for the rest of his life.
Hell, it was easier than digging himself a hole and burying himself. And he was fairly sure that he wouldn't fit underneath a rock.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Sasuke didn't budge until the knocking continued for about six times. His head slowly lifting, he stared uncomprehendingly towards the source of the noise.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
Slowly, Sasuke slid to the edge of the bed and placed his feet on the floor. Who...? He straightened slowly, walking out of his room and wandering down the hall. He winced lightly at the knocking, since his hangover still hadn't completely vanished. Steps slowing, he regarded the front door as it swung into view.
Could it be...Naruto?
Heart pounding, Sasuke stopped in front of his door, one hand on the lock and the other clutching the handle. His hands started shaking again.
Do I really want to open the door? What's he going to say? An unpleasant image of Naruto happily burying a kunai in Sasuke's heart made him pull back from the door. Surely Naruto wouldn't be that drastic, but then again, he'd never had a guy try to force himself on him before. Who knows how he'd really react?
The knocking ceased abruptly. Gritting his teeth and squaring his shoulders, Sasuke threw back the lock and tightened his grip on the handle.
I can do this. I'm not going to run from him!
Bracing himself for the worst, he threw open the door.
I'm not a coward!
Waiting impatiently for his vision to clear—and for his mind to stop screaming, "The light! It buuuuuurns!"—Sasuke eventually took in the sight of the girl who was standing in front of him, a concerned smile on her face.
The pink-haired girl stepped forward, hands clasped tightly in front of her as if she had to restrain herself from reaching out and touching him.
"I...I'm sorry to bother you, Sasuke-kun, but I heard that no one's seen you since last night, and..." She lowered her gaze, blushing prettily. "I was worried."
A thick mixture of disappointment and relief rushed through Sasuke with such force, he found himself sinking against the doorjamb. Lifting a hand, he rubbed wearily at his eyes.
"Is that all you wanted?" he asked irritably.
Her smile faltered. "Well, actually, I also came with a message."
Did it look like Sasuke gave a shit? "And?" he questioned, his voice containing an edge.
"Well, I ran into Naruto this morning, and—"
"Naruto?" Sasuke blurted before he could stop himself. Straightening, he stared at the surprised girl. "What...what did he say?"
She blinked at him. "He...said that you should come to the festival tonight, though he didn't give me a reason why." Pausing, she took in the troubled look on Sasuke's face. "Is there...something going on between you two?"
Sasuke immediately put all of his freewheeling thoughts on hold and gave Sakura a cold stare.
"No, there isn't."
She looked like she wanted to question further, but one glance at the boy's face apparently convinced her not to try.
"Then, will we see you at the festival today?"
Sasuke hesitated, turning his face away. Should he risk it?
This time, Sakura gave him a genuine smile. A small part of Sasuke felt almost wistful; she really was a good girl at heart, even if she was a little single-minded.
It was almost a shame that she never stood a chance.
"Alright, then, I hope to see you later, Sasuke-kun." Smiling, she turned to head down the stairs.
"...When you saw Naruto..."
"Hmm?" Sakura turned back to him, surprised at the sudden tension in his shoulders and jaw.
"When you saw Naruto..." Gritting his teeth, Sasuke plundered on. "How did he...look?"
She blinked confusedly, but she gave the question some thought. "Well, I'd say he looked the same as he always does, but when I think back...I think he was a little upset about something. He had a full bowl of ramen in front of him, and he barely touched it."
Naruto wouldn't eat ramen? I don't think he's EVER been that upset.
Snorting lightly, Sasuke closed his eyes. Of course he's upset. Who wouldn't be after his rival suddenly admits to lusting crazily after him for weeks, even months? A hand pressed against his temple. And then there's the whole molestation thing...
He glanced up at her, a small frown on his face. Her brow wrinkled, she reached out and placed a hand lightly on his arm.
"Are you sure you're ok?"
Lowering his gaze, he pulled away. "I'm fine." Translation: Go away. I want to go back inside and brood.
Sakura smiled weakly. "Alright. See you later, Sasuke-kun."
The door was shut before she even hit the stairs.
I'm a dead man.
Sasuke overcompensated for the dread in his stomach by pasting a blank expression on his face as he wandered slowly around the festival. By the time he'd gathered the guts to put on a dark blue yukata and wander into the bustling streets, the sun had already begun to dip lazily towards the horizon.
He glanced around, spotting a few of his peers, but he simply turned away. Hands stuffed in his sleeves, he headed for a quieter area near the end of the street.
He stood there for a long moment, his thoughts growing darker by the second. When Naruto showed, if he showed, Sasuke was going to get rejected, at the very least. More likely Naruto was going to beat the shit out of him for even thinking about him that way, and the sad thing was that Sasuke would probably let him.
Strange, how a person's will to fight could dry up so completely. A kind of hopeless desperation settled over Sasuke as he went through all of Naruto's possible reactions. Wasn't there even a shred of a chance that Naruto would accept him? Even if he didn't actually want Sasuke in return, was it possible for Naruto to...
...Care for him at all?
Sasuke let out a short, humorless chuckle at that train of thought.
"Damn, I'm pathetic." Smiling wryly, he lifted a hand and ran it through his hair. But then, I guess I would be pathetic. I'm hopelessly in love with a guy who would probably rather screw a mountain goat than me.
"...What do I do?"
When the quiet breeze failed to respond to him, he glanced at the bustling festival. Should he go and seek out the blonde? Or was he just supposed to wait somewhere? Frowning, Sasuke took a step towards the festival.
If I were Naruto, I wouldn't think to wait on the outskirts of a festival. I'd be having fun in the middle of all the action. He stifled a sigh, gently weaving through the crowds. Sasuke hated crowds, hated socializing, and hated festivals.
What better place to shoot him down?
After about a half hour of fruitless searching, Sasuke let out a huff of frustration and stopped in the center of the street.
"Where the hell IS he?" His dread temporarily forgotten, he glared at the stalls around him. He wasn't at any of the shops, and he wasn't at any of the food places. Where else would the little idiot go?
As if on cue, a volley of cheers rose up over the crowd. Sasuke glanced irritably towards the commotion.
Shoving his hands in his sleeves and glowering, Sasuke strode towards the gaming booths. He checked the fish stalls briefly, but his eye kept being caught by a rather thick crowd of intermittently cheering girls. Giving in to his curiosity, he wandered over to the shooting stand and stood at the edge of the crowd.
What on earth are they so excited about? he thought sourly. Women. They're always so—
"Yoosh! This one's for Michiko-chan!"
"Nice shot, Naruto-kun!"
"Thank you so much, Naruto-kun!"
Sasuke froze for a millisecond before forcing his way through the crowd of girls. Each started to protest before she took a good look at who was pushing her out of the way. Ignoring the stares he received, Sasuke finally made his way to the center of the group.
Unable to stop himself, Sasuke drank in the sight of the blonde. Naruto stood before him in a deep red yukata, gold phoenixes in flight embroidered magnificently over the material. The rolled up sleeves showed off the defined muscles in Naruto's arms as the boy lifted the pellet gun, took careful aim, and fired.
"Ooo, can I have that one, Naruto-kun?"
"No way! It's mine!"
Sasuke fought down a wave of jealousy as the girls fawned over Naruto, cooing in his ear and clutching at his yukata. They're getting bolder, those damn vipers.
Chuckling, Naruto turned to the two girls who were currently foaming at the mouth.
"Look, this one'll go to Karin-chan, but I promise I'll win you something, too, Akari-chan." Naruto disarmed the latter girl's protests by giving her a wide-toothed grin. Relaxing, the girl admitted defeat.
"All right, but I want the pink rabbit!" she declared. Smiling, Naruto turned back to the line of targets and started to take aim.
Scowling, Sasuke folded his arms tightly over his chest. That little creep! He hasn't even noticed me yet!
Naruto glanced over at him.
Sasuke's breath caught in his throat as Naruto stared at him, his face unreadable. Several words started and died in Sasuke's throat.
Naruto, you...what are you thinking? Did you not expect me to find you, or are you just that unhappy to see me now? Cold seemed to bubble in his stomach, spreading to the rest of his body.
Do you loathe me?
Without saying a word of acknowledgement, Naruto returned his gaze to the game before him. He shifted his aim slightly, a look of intense concentration on his face.
Sasuke looked away, his fists clenched at his sides. So he's just going to ignore me. He tells me to come out here, gathers a huge group of girls, and—
"Eh? Did Naruto-kun miss?"
"He didn't hit the rabbit. Naruto-kun, who's that for?"
"It doesn't look very feminine..."
Sasuke didn't move, his eyes narrowing. If all the little asshole wants to do is humiliate me, then I'll be damned if I'll just stand here and—
Blinking, Sasuke glanced up. Naruto stood before him, an odd smile on his face. The blonde lifted his prize, pushing it into Sasuke's chest.
"I said take it." He smirked. "I figured you'd like it better than a teddy bear."
Unable to comprehend the blonde's attitude, Sasuke stared down at the stuffed animal in his hands. It was a black cat with almond-shaped red eyes, a self-assured smirk stitched onto its face. All in all, it reminded Sasuke of...himself.
"This is...for me?" he asked slowly.
"No, I'm just making you look at it," Naruto replied dryly. Turning his attention back to the curious group of girls around him, he lifted a hand and smiled apologetically.
"Sorry, ladies, but I need to go. I'll win some more prizes later, ok?" Ignoring their grumbles and curious whispers, Naruto turned, clutched Sasuke's elbow, and began tugging him through the crowd. Sasuke stared down at the point of contact, every train of thought derailing before it got into the station.
He's touching me? He can actually stand to be near me? He glanced at the stuffed cat in his hands. And he won this for me?
...What the hell is he thinking?
"Naruto, you—why did you..." Gritting his teeth, Sasuke tugged his arm free of Naruto's grip and pushed the toy towards him. "Who the hell said I wanted this?"
Naruto glanced at the toy, then up at Sasuke. Giving the boy an exasperated look, he folded his arms defiantly across his chest.
"No one said you wanted it, but stop being an ass for a minute and accept it, will you?" He frowned when Sasuke opened his mouth to protest. "Does everything have to be a fight with you?"
Sasuke shut his mouth promptly, catching the edge in Naruto's voice. The blonde nodded shortly, turning to continue walking. Following with a small, worried frown on his face, Sasuke tightened his grip on the toy.
"Where are we going?"
Naruto shrugged. "I dunno. We need to talk, Sasuke."
Here it comes... Glancing away, Sasuke tensed his jaw. "Look, about last night—"
"Hey! Takoyaki!" Cutting off a surprised Sasuke, Naruto darted to a nearby stand and bought himself two orders of the steaming octopus balls. He flashed a genuine smile, eagerly popping them into his mouth.
"They always make the best takoyaki during festivals!" he declared, popping another into his mouth and humming happily. Sasuke stared as the boy he loved, who was probably going to shoot him down tonight, happily stuffed his face in front of him.
...And damn, Naruto looked good in that yukata. Sasuke would give anything to wrap his arms around the boy's waist and pull him close...
Blushing lightly, Sasuke glanced away. Naruto swallowed as he glanced up at Sasuke.
"What? What's with that expression?"
Sasuke shook his head. "It's nothing." You look as edible as those takoyaki, damn you. His blush increased, and Sasuke found himself staring steadfastly at the ground. You ALWAYS look edible.
Naruto didn't reply for a long moment, munching quietly on his snacks.
"...Sasuke, you..." The blonde hesitated when Sasuke's shoulders became rigid. Sighing, Naruto grabbed Sasuke's arm again and led him towards the quieter trails through the park ahead. When he was sure that no one was listening, he faced Sasuke and folded his arms carefully, making sure not to spill any of his takoyaki.
"All right. Care to tell me what that was all about last night?"
For a split second, Sasuke considered the sudden wild impulse to turn and run for his life. He could probably outrun the boy for a while, especially if he caught him by surprise...
When good sense returned, Sasuke frowned and turned away.
"Last night, I was...intoxicated, and you were handy." He hesitated, unable to look at Naruto. "I'm...sorry."
"...Bullshit." Naruto frowned as Sasuke looked at him in surprise. "Do you really think I'm that oblivious? I know you, Sasuke. You're the last person who would touch someone like that just because they were 'handy'."
Unable to hold Naruto's gaze, Sasuke looked away. "Believe what you want, then."
"Look, why don't we skip the next fifteen minutes of bullshitting, lying and arguing and just get to the truth." Naruto stepped forward, ignoring the way Sasuke shifted uneasily. "Why did you really come on to me last night?"
"I..." Sasuke's words died in his throat. What should I say? I can't just tell him how strongly I feel about him, but if I lie, he'll catch it. What do I do?
Sensing that Sasuke was unable to respond, Naruto sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
"You know, you really are an asshole, Sasuke." The boy in question flinched. "I mean, first you start feeding me lines, then you short circuit my brain by jumping me, and now you're acting like you want to forget it ever happened."
Giving Sasuke something akin to a pout, Naruto shifted his stance. "You know, you really managed to turn my world upside down on me. I didn't get a wink of sleep last night, and I've spent the entire day just...confused."
Lifting an eyebrow, Sasuke finally met Naruto's gaze. "Confused?"
"Yeah. I've been confused about everything: about me, about how I feel about you, about you, about why the hell I didn't pick up on all those signs before..."
Dredging up his nerve, Sasuke stepped closer. "And? What did you decide, regarding your...feelings for me?"
Naruto stared at him. "See, that's just it. I don't know. I don't..." He sighed, running a frustrated hand through his hair. "I never really thought about you that way, Sasuke, but now... And I still don't know how you feel about me in the first place."
"And if I tell you? What will you do then?" Some part of Sasuke relished the stunned expression on Naruto's face, while the rest of him wondered what the hell he was doing.
Tipping his chin up defiantly, Naruto glared at him. "I told you that I don't know. Hell, I'm not sure if I'm even attracted to you...well, that way at least."
Ignoring the sharp twist in his heart, Sasuke latched onto the uncertain tone in Naruto's voice. He stepped forward again.
"Well then, maybe we should find out."
"Huh?" Naruto lifted an eyebrow at him. "Find out how?"
"Well..." Advancing on him, Sasuke backed Naruto up until they were hidden in the shadows of a nearby tree. "You could let me kiss you again." What the fuck am I saying? Naruto's going to HATE me for this! "If you like it, you'll have your answer."
"And if I don't?" Naruto asked warily, his gaze dropping to Sasuke's lips.
"...Then I guess I'll have mine." His heart pounded furiously in his chest as he awaited Naruto's answer. I must be crazy. After all that's happened, I'm coming on to him AGAIN? I should have walked away, or just told him to forget it, or...
"If you don't take a chance...will you be able to live with yourself?"
Sasuke's jaw line hardened. No. I won't give up on this boy without a fight. If he isn't sure about me, then I'll MAKE him sure. One way or the other... He stepped a little closer, his eyes intent on Naruto's mouth.
...This ends tonight.
"Well?" he prompted, noticing that Naruto still hadn't said anything. Biting his lip, the blonde took a deep breath.
"All...all right. But just one kiss, alright? And no funny stuff."
Sasuke fought down a nervous smile and nodded, lifting one hand to gingerly cup Naruto's cheek. His breath catching, Sasuke leaned forward and closed the distance between them.
Warm bolts of electricity flashed through him at the contact, making Sasuke press closer to the boy. Naruto's scent filled his nose, and Sasuke's eyes drifted shut as he nipped gently at the other boy's bottom lip. Naruto's lips parted at the action. Taking advantage, Sasuke slipped his tongue into the shorter boy's mouth.
Naruto's taste flooded his mouth, a mixture of takoyaki, ramen, and something warm, like cinnamon. Moaning quietly, Sasuke let the hand on Naruto's face slip around to cup the back of his head while the back of his other hand trailed down the boy's chest, eventually moving to wrap his arm about the boy's waist. He pulled him closer, suddenly desperate for more contact.
God, the difference when I'm actually sober! Heart pounding, he tightened his grip on the boy and pulled him flush against him, chest to chest. Yes...oh, yes...
Naruto abruptly shoved at Sasuke's shoulders, pulling away from him.
Sasuke had to take a minute to process the finality in Naruto's voice. No? What was he saying no...to...
The world shattered around him.
Sasuke's hands started trembling uncontrollably, and he clutched at the stuffed cat he hadn't realized he was still holding. Naruto's rejecting me. He allowed me to kiss him, but he hated the feeling so much that...
Lowering his head until his bangs covered his face, Sasuke clenched his teeth. No matter what, he wouldn't let Naruto see how much he'd hurt him.
"Here. Give me that."
Blinking, Sasuke stared at his hands as Naruto slowly pried the cat from his fingers. His heart cracked into a few more pieces.
"You...gave this to me," Sasuke heard himself whisper. He sensed more than saw the blonde shake his head.
"Just hand it over, dumbass."
It was stupid, it was immature, but Sasuke didn't want to let go. He knew it was nothing but a stuffed doll, a toy he hadn't even wanted in the first place, but...
He watched, devastated, as Naruto succeeded in pulling the animal away. The boy turned, setting it and the takoyaki down on the ground out of the way, and then straightened, turning to face Sasuke again.
So what now? Is he going to hit me? Call me a pervert and demand that I never talk to him again? Sasuke's hands balled into fists, the jagged pieces of his heart mercilessly cutting into him. Even if I deserve it, I won't...
His thoughts trailed off as Naruto clutched the front of Sasuke's yukata and tugged the boy closer. Glancing up, Sasuke took in the small smile on Naruto's face.
"All right. Try that again, hot shot, without the stuffed animal."
Sasuke's heart gave a sharp thump in his chest as he slowly slid his arms around Naruto's waist. The other boy smirked at him.
"What, now you're shy?" Naruto snorted. "Maybe the only time you're interested is when I'm completely unsuspect—"
Sasuke promptly shut him up.
Arms tightening, Sasuke crushed the other boy against him as he plundered his mouth. He inhaled sharply as Naruto's hands clutched at Sasuke's upper arms. He's not pushing me away. He's actually letting me kiss him.
Relishing the feel of Naruto's body pressed against his own, Sasuke ran his hands up and down the blonde's back. The feel of toned muscle underneath the silk made Sasuke let out a small moan. GOD he feels good...
...A little too good, apparently.
Reluctantly, Sasuke ended the kiss and moved back a little. He kept his arms wrapped around Naruto's waist, since he wasn't even sure if was capable of letting go right now, but he didn't want Naruto to feel Sasuke's reaction just yet. It was enough that Naruto let Sasuke kiss him—though, now that he thought about it, Naruto hadn't exactly kissed him back. Responded, maybe, but he hadn't really returned anything—and the last thing Sasuke wanted was for Naruto to think that he was just going to shove him against the nearest hard surface and repeat history.
Taking a deep breath, Naruto opened his eyes and stared at Sasuke. The brilliant blue had darkened, and the effect of his gaze had Sasuke backing up another step, his mouth suddenly dry. Naruto took another breath and stepped away as well, running a hand through his unruly hair.
"Well, I guess that answers that question." He smirked dryly. "Have you always been a good kisser, or is this another one of 'ah, so that's how it's done' Sharingan things?"
Sasuke allowed himself an amused smirk at that one. "What do you think?"
"Right. Not answering that one." Naruto fell silent, looking away.
The silence began to grow tense. Folding his arms, Sasuke attempted to stare the shorter boy down.
Well? Out with it. Is there a chance or not?
"Sasuke, I...I don't think I should make a decision right now. If we just jump into a relationship, I don't think I'll ever know if it was what I really wanted, or if I was just going with the flow." He gave Sasuke a weak smile. "I guess I'm not as rash as everyone thinks I am."
Sasuke's lips twitched in a tiny, sad smile. "I guess not."
Taking in the look on Sasuke's face, Naruto reached out. "Hey. Before you start jumping to every negative conclusion you can think of—don't give me that look, I know how your mind works—I'm not rejecting you. I just want to make sure that what I'm feeling right now is real."
What he's feeling right now? Sasuke found himself staring at Naruto as the boy gave him a genuine smile. For the first time since the beginning of the day, a real sense of hope unfurled within him.
"So...you're saying that there's a chance?" he asked, his voice surprisingly husky. Blushing, Naruto glanced away and nodded.
"I guess you could say that." Turning, he bent and gathered the takoyaki and the toy, handing the cat back to Sasuke. He smirked. "I think it missed you."
"Shut up." Blushing lightly, Sasuke took the animal and tucked it under his arm. "So, what do you want to do now?"
The two glanced up as a brilliant green firework exploded in the night sky. Smiling, Naruto started walking towards the filling fields nearby.
"Care to watch the fireworks with me?" He sent a saucy smile over his shoulder at the Uchiha.
"Sure..." His blush increasing, Sasuke fell into step beside Naruto. He won me a prize, we kissed, and we're watching fireworks together. This festival thing has kind of turned into...a date, hasn't it? His heart gave another sharp thump, and he sent a wary glance at Naruto. He couldn't have planned this, could he?
As they wandered through the crowd, Naruto gave Sasuke a sly look. "You know, I was originally going to ask Sakura-chan out to this festival."
Sasuke snorted, his sense of humor (what little there was) returning. "What makes you think she'd have said yes?"
"She could have!" Naruto pouted for a second, narrowing his eyes. "Do you know something that I don't?"
"You actually know something?"
Naruto swiped at Sasuke's shoulder, satisfied when the taller boy grunted. "Creep." They walked in silence for a moment. "...But still, I'm glad that I didn't." He smirked. "Things wouldn't have been half as interesting."
Sasuke didn't reply, but a smirk settled upon his features. Damn right.
Finding a spot among the spectators, Naruto and Sasuke settled down in the cool grass and watched the fireworks blossom above their heads. Sasuke leaned back, hands supporting him from behind and the cat resting on his lap. After a long, comfortable silence, he spoke quietly.
"Do you still want to know how I feel?"
"Damn straight I do." Naruto's reply came easily, and he turned to give Sasuke a warm smile with a hint of a smirk within it. "But I'm willing to wait. You can tell me when you're ready."
Naruto turned his face back to the sky, unknowingly letting the light of the fireworks play across his handsome features. Sasuke stared, an expression of longing crossing his face before he, too, glanced up at the sky.
"...I love you, Naruto."
The other boy was silent for a long moment, but then Sasuke felt Naruto's hand settle upon his.
"Glad to hear it."
Warmth settled in Sasuke's heart as they interlaced their fingers and continued watching the fireworks. A full, genuine smile spread across the boy's features, and he tightened his grip on Naruto's hand. Sure, things hadn't worked out as well as they could have, but for the first time, he had a real hope for the future.
He glanced at Naruto as the other boy began idly playing with his fingers. His smile growing, Sasuke leaned over and pressed a kiss to the boy's temple. In return, Naruto shifted closer and leaned against Sasuke's side.
Happy for the first time in his life, Sasuke squeezed Naruto's hand.
For now...it was enough.