Title: Three's Company
Author: Jinhito
Disclaimer: Own nothing except my deluded yaoi-filled mind.
Summary: He wasn't overreacting. This was Sasuke after all! Sai had to understand; he just had to... And if he didn't... Naruto couldn't fathom the consequences.
Author's Note: This fic is dedicated to nyusama, a wonderful friend, because she inspired it with her own SaiNaru drabble and coolness! (hugs hugs and love) Should be work-safe, beta-ing was done by Sel! Rejoice in the knowledge that I live once more...

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It's only been a week since he came to live with us. Not much has changed but everything's so different from before. Sakura bought me this yesterday and told me not to stress out too much.

If only she knew... Writing to a piece of paper never solved life's problems. Especially mine.

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"Where's Sasuke?"

Naruto meandered into the kitchen. He was filthy, gross, and smelled of swamp. Summer missions through the forest areas of Konoha were down right nasty. He really wished Tsunade baa-chan would send him a real Chunnin-level challenge within the end of the week. But that was rather unlikely, she liked to keep him in his place like the bratty little whipper-snapper he was. And it may even be months before anything new popped up otherwise, so he just had to stick it out and deal, deal and wait...

Sad to say waiting never helped his mood much. He was ever the impatient person.

Sai wrinkled his nose at the scent of rancid kyuubi-boy as he entered the room, but said nothing in regards to it. Lately he'd taken the silent role in the house, and nobody was sure whether or not it was a good thing. Least there were no more penis joke flying around - god those really pissed Naruto off.

But since nothing else was left to rile his already tufted feathers, he calmly stood with his hands on his hips till he got a proper response.

"He's in the bathroom." Sai replied coolly, voice crisp and to the point, sounded like he didn't want to talk about it. His eyes were downcast and into the paper he was currently entertaining. The words flying off the page in a slow stream of interpretation and he continued to read on impassive all the while.

In all honesty, he couldn't care less wherever that ungrateful ass was shuffling around. An odd sound added to the background of his thoughts.

Naruto had begun to gwaf, (Sai had dubbed it) strangled angry noises erupting from his unhinged jaw. Coherence was out the window.

So he just rolled his attentive eyes up and away from his source of bother and kept right on reading unperturbed.

Here we go...

"WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

The loud shouting should have done permanent damage to his delicate ears but once you had begun living with Naruto it was all the same day in and day out. He'd become rather accustomed to it actually and a day without shouting was very, very unusual.

"Why would you - how could you! Ohhh!" Naruto ranted off and stiffened his shoulders to drop his clutched fists at his sides. This was anger beyond words. Sai should know better, they'd had a long talk about it the first day Sasuke had come to live with them. Damn him! Damn him for being a neglectful asshole!

"You!" The blonde pointed an accusing finger in his direction that promised retribution later. There was so much to be mad about he couldn't fully express it. But right now Sasuke's safety was more important than bitching out Sai.

Stalking with a heavy weight in each step, he made it to the bathroom down the hall in a matter of seconds. Only muttered single syllables followed him and Sai refused to acknowledge that kind of behavior.

"Sasuke?" Naruto called out hesitantly, fingers wrapping around a doorframe but not helping propel him forward anytime soon. He respected the other man. Decency came before his dying curiosity. He would wait until he got some sort of response and only then dive in if there was silence for more than five seconds, yeah that sounded right. Five seconds... one Mississippi... two Mississippi... three-

"Ah?"

It was quiet but there, definitely there.

He breathed a real sigh of relief. Thank you God!

"You decent?"

"Why wouldn't I be usuratonkachi?"

What a pet name that could outlast the ages... Instead of getting angry like he usually did, Naruto let it slide. Man was he actually growing up or what? He deemed it acceptable to enter and did so right away, not even announcing it aloud.

"You had me worried." That earned a look. "Glad to see you're okay."

"You're glad?" Sasuke parroted slowly.

Naruto shook his head up and down vigorously, eyes trying not to drink in the sight before him. Sasuke was seated on the edge of the white porcelain tub against the wall under a window. There was a large white terry cloth draped loosely around his waist covering everything from lower belly to just above his kneecaps. Another towel was wrapped about his neck, his right hand was gripping at the edges with a tense hold and he was pulling it as tightly as he could over both shoulders.

It was obvious what he was trying so desperately to hide. Too bad he was failing horribly.

And Sasuke never did take losing well...

Again Naruto was the bigger man and looked away. If he pretended not to see it, maybe Sasuke would feel a little better. Right now was when he needed cheering up the most, even if a stubborn prick like himself refused to admit it. Yeah, Naruto was gonna give him everything he could, make this the best part of his life until he was capable of recovering from all the damage done in the last couple years.

"Alright then!" He chirped in a conversational tone, "I'll let you finish getting dressed!" Walking out as if he'd seen nothing out of the ordinary, he closed the door partly behind him. He knew Sasuke hated it when people stared, a fear now engraved into him. He didn't want to be the main cause of that irritation and it was best to let him work this out, like so many times before, by himself.

Sasuke didn't want anyone else's help... not even his own sometimes.

Naruto sighed trying to forget it, but it was so hard when your friend was struggling. Rubbing the back of his head he remembered what was next on his (hit)list. Fucking Sai...

His anger came back with a vengeance. Oh how that guy was gonna get a piece of his mind.

Trying his best to forget about Sasuke, he'd be fine all by himself if the task at hand was just to get dressed. Clothes couldn't be that hard of an opponent right? Right. He managed to make it to the kitchen again in one piece, body still dirty and mood just as rotten.

"Alright buddy," he crossed his arms stiffly over his puffed out chest, attention glued to Sai. The other was licking the pad of his thumb and reaching forward to crease the corner of a particular page he'd been reading. Naruto twitched in agitation. He knew that he hated that...

"Care to explain why you left him all alone?"

Naruto congratulated himself for a job well done thus far. He hadn't gotten exceedingly pissed yet - this was always a good sign. If he could keep his voice down and remain as calm as Sai, then they could solve this issue with little to no hassle and Sasuke wouldn't have to know.

Sai merely shrugged, still not looking up.

Tick one.

"Hey, I'm talking to you."

"Yes, I can see that."

"No you can't, don't lie! You're not even looking at me!"

Sai brought a finger to lips as a warning for Naruto to lower it.

Tick two.

"Don't tell me what to do asshole!"

"Don't yell."

"Will you just answer my damn question?"

Sai released an exasperated breath, he wasn't in the mood to argue today - not like he was ever in the mood of much anyway... but this was different. He didn't like having to deal with an irate Naruto.

"He told me to leave him be, so I did."

"And you didn't even try to fight back? You didn't try to convince him otherwise?"

Sai folded the paper with a talented ease and slammed it hard on the tabletop surface. Naruto continued on uninterrupted, this was serious. Too many times before Sai had left Sasuke to his own devices... That was dangerous! Thousands of bad things could happen in the span of a second if he was unsupervised. So why did Sai keep doing this time and time again?

"He could have hurt himself! That wound's still fresh! It's hardly healed! He can't do much on his own! What if he'd fallen? What if he'd drowned? What if he'd, he'd-" Naruto began to hyperventilate, his speech was bordering a full-out shout. That was ridiculous, he knew. There was no way Sasuke, the last Uchiha, would ever be caught fucking dead by the evil deeds of some soap and water in the bathtub.

But it was just the goddamn principle of the thing!

Biting his lower lip in frustration, Naruto tightened his fists and did his best to tame them by his slacks. He was just worried; he had every right to be. Sasuke was his friend, his best friend and here he was being the worst helper in the entire city of Konoha. Why did he constantly fuck up things?

Oh wait, no. That was all Sai's job wasn't it?

"You know he can't be left alone!" He whispered out roughly through grit teeth. Tsunade had given him strict orders to watch over Sasuke as long as he was in their care. The other was still weak and recovering from that last fight with Itachi. It had cost him a lot; his family, his hopes, his dreams, and now a body part... Sasuke was never going to be a ninja again.

Sai just sat there and took it. He didn't even blink, just waited.

"You know how I feel about this whole thing... we need to watch him, we need to-"

"No."

Naruto stopped.

"What?"

"No."

Sai stared on, eyes hardened into a look Naruto had never seen before.

"Why...?" The other ventured slowly; what strange behavior.

"I said no and I mean it."

"What are you talking about? Why would you-"

Sai suddenly did something that for once shut Naruto the hell up and made him forget what he was about to go on saying. The darker-haired boy stood up and smashed a fist sharply into the wood of the table. He might have left a crack in it too if the force had been any harder...

"I'm sick of this. I'm tired of hearing you talk about nothing but Sasuke and how you worry about him and how you care about him and I-" He chocked up in the middle of his monologue, looking away to his left where nothing was to judge him.

"I don't like feeling this way. I don't like it. I don't like it at all." He peered back into Naruto's eyes.

"It hurts Naruto. It hurts what you're doing to me... I don't know what it is, but I'm tired of hearing it and I'm tired of listening to it and dealing with it - dealing with him, dealing with you!" The end of that sentence came out heady and rushed. Sai must have really been serious and Naruto couldn't find the right words all of a sudden. His throat was pinching in the worst way... Why was today turning into this?

"I don't need this..." Sai lowered his head and hunched forward onto the table, like he was convincing himself that it was the absolute truth. That he could walk away just as easily if he so much as wanted to.

"Sai..."

His line of vision shot upwards and meet Naruto's watering eyes. Was Naruto actually about to cry?

"Don't go..."

"I won't be second to him."

"You're not!" Naruto stressed the end in his best tone but it came out as a whine. He couldn't do this... choose between who was more important. A few months back, things would have been less complicated. He wouldn't have invited Sai to share in the rest of his life and Sasuke would still be the apple of his eye, no questions asked.

But this was later and things were different. He had changed and he had to deal with the consequences of his choices.

"It's him or me."

Sai was definite in his conviction. There would be no room for him in that heart if Sasuke was still lingering around in the darkest corners. Unconscious or not, Naruto had an unhealthy attachment to his first best friend. It was something Sai knew he could never compete with if he ever wanted to stay with Naruto in the way he had once before been promised, when life was less Sasuke-filled.

Naruto needed to choose.
And he had to do it now.

But the other boy wouldn't say anything, couldn't say anything. It was kind of funny how an argument of negligence on one side could escalate into a war of it from the other end. His lips quivered lightly, face furrowed in indecision.

"Please don't make me choose..."

Sai sighed and hung his head in defeat, shoulders throwing their full weight into his hands. Air was suddenly heavy and he needed to get out of here. Walk away, walk away...

"Then I'll do it for you." Pushing himself off the table, he spun around with determination in his stride.

He was leaving because this was the way Naruto apparently wanted things. This was what had to be done.

"Sai!" Naruto brought up his hands in utter frustration. There was nothing he could do to stop him, he felt so helpless now.

Without a look back or even a second of hesitation, Sai stormed out of the kitchen and out of the apartment. The door slammed with a finality that rang endlessly in the tiny indoors.

"Come back..." Naruto weakly rattled, his fingers reaching out forward where the other once was.

Part of him new that if he really wanted to, he could easily go on a hunt after the other, but that would be stupid. He would be completely forsaking the sacrifice Sai had just given for him. And that would make him the worst kind of liar - a hypocrite. He had been mad that Sasuke was alone; that he would be alone... and by leaving now he would only be the one adding to his own fear. Completely contradictory and nothing more than foolhardy in the end...

So he stood there, hands clenched tightly to his chest, grappling for some kind of surface that would stop the hurt and make Sai come back.

Time stopped for him but kept moving forward all the same everywhere else. How long would it take for the rest of him to catch up? "Oh God Sai..."

"Let him go."

Sasuke's voice registered vaguely in his troubled mind. It was faint and almost intelligible. Naruto turned his head to look over a defensive shoulder.

"Just let him go Naruto."

He stood there with a patient look on his face, eyes darker than their normal shade of coal but still observant and still just as deadly. His body was covered by another set of navy robes similar to the ones he had been found in. His right arm was slung lowly on the belt rungs stitched in around his waist and the left sleeve swung freely. Sakura had fashioned this especially for him - said that his own sort of shame would appreciate the gesture in the long run.

Naruto guessed she was right but that didn't matter now.

Sasuke was his voice for reason in an endlessly down spiraling world.

"If he can't see what's right in front of him, then he deserves nothing less."

Naruto wished he could believe that somehow.

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Yeah, my first attempt (in a nutshell) at an ooc-Sai... trust me that's for a good reason. I'm basing this after a post-relationship with Naruto and Sai. Sasuke just got tossed into the bunch for the hell of it and my own sick amusement. I hope you enjoyed it. Work is currently being done a third chapter and if you liked it please let me know. I'll be sure to post up the second chapter real soon in response.