Title: Hot Sex and Pest Control

Author: Sintari

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Falling in love is the easiest thing in the world. Staying in love is another thing altogether.

"There's no food in this house at all," Sasuke closed the refrigerator door, his forehead furrowing in disbelief. He saw a towel go flying across the bedroom to the dirty clothes pile before Naruto appeared in the doorway.

"I've been eating out."

Sasuke pursed his lips. "Yes, I see." Empty food cartons littered the kitchen's flat surfaces. A line of ants followed an obstacle course between them.

"The dirty clothes pile is taller than the bed," Sasuke continued. "And didn't I buy you a laundry basket?"

Naruto crossed their tiny kitchen in three steps and began picking at one of the cartons with sticky chopsticks.

"It's full," he said between mouthfuls.

Sasuke slowly unballed the fists into which his hands had involuntarily curled. He spoke deliberately to make sure Naruto heard him over his noisy chewing. "Then wouldn't that be your cue to do the damn laundry, Naruto?" His voice became louder with every word until, by the end, he was shouting Naruto's name.

Naruto poked the chopsticks into the congealed rice, where they stood straight up like television antennae. He had flinched at Sasuke's tone.

"Seemed like a waste to go to the Laundromat for just a couple of loads," he shrugged helplessly.

Their cheap Formica table took up most of the kitchen, and Sasuke skirted it now to avoid Naruto's touch. The man had just eaten food that was gods knew how old, and without air conditioning the temperature in their apartment was approximately one degree cooler than Hell.

Newly back from a mission, Sasuke wanted nothing more than to take a shower, but judging from the smell emanating from the bathroom he'd just end up getting dirtier if he dared venture in there. He'd need to find a pole to vault over the dirty clothes pile anyway.

Naruto reached for him, and Sasuke pulled away without really meaning to. It had been instinct more than anything – it was hot, he was sweaty – but Naruto blinked when he did it. And Sasuke couldn't have felt lower in his life. But once he'd done it, Sasuke wasn't sure how to take it back. They hadn't fought since moving in together. And the truth was that they'd skirted one another just like Sasuke had just edged around their kitchen table. Maybe it had been a bad idea.

"I'm just going to go to Sakura's and get a shower," Sasuke heard himself saying.

"Yeah, okay." He left Naruto standing by the crowded sink, wondering what exactly it was he had done wrong.

Sasuke stayed at Sakura's longer than he'd meant to. Even though he and Sakura never really talked about anything of consequence anymore, she seemed pleased to see him. And the air conditioning felt nice one his wet hair after he'd showered. Her boyfriend wasn't home, so she'd heated up some leftovers from their dinner and before Sasuke knew it, it was midnight.

"I should go home," Sasuke told her, glancing at the clock. Sakura reached out and squeezed his hand as he stood in her open doorway.

"Neither one of you are used to living with other people," Sakura reminded him. It was the first time they had spoken of Naruto all night. "Whatever he did, don't punish him like this. Go home and talk."

Sasuke left, embarrassed that the fight had been so plain to her this whole time.

When Sasuke opened the door to his own apartment – no, their apartment – the first thing he noticed was the gleam of the stovetop. All the take-out cartons were gone and there wasn't an ant in sight. His eyes traveled toward the bedroom and he saw the laundry basket he'd bought, empty and sitting just inside the bedroom door. The bed was made, and on the shuriken-patterned comforter – a gift from their sensei – sat Naruto. Sasuke caught his eye and Naruto made a helpless gesture with his hands.

"I know you can't stand a mess," he said. Then he shrugged, "Even though I'm a mess."

Sasuke crossed into the bedroom and sat down beside his – what? Boyfriend? Lover? – they seemed like such crude terms for what they had.

Naruto smoothed the comforter where Sasuke had jostled it a bit sitting down. Sasuke watched the motion of his hands, smiled.


Naruto looked up.

"I love you."

It was the first time he'd said when they were both fully clothed. And the three words took on a different quality that time. Like maybe the two of them weren't just about hot nights in bed, or afternoons on the floor, or mornings the shower, and after missions on the kitchen counter. Maybe they were also about laundry baskets, and washing dishes, and pest control.

"I love you, too," Naruto said seriously, then he grinned a little and pulled Sasuke closer. "But don't think I'm cleaning the whole goddamned house every time I want to get some. Geesh."

Okay, Sasuke thought as Naruto pushed him back on the bed, so maybe they were about hot sex and pest control.