Pairings: NaruSasu, SasuSaku
Summary: When Sasuke can't ask for what he needs, Naruto has to try a little harder.
Sasuke doesn't ask for things, and so Naruto has to watch, and wait, and sometimes guess.
The guessing part is scary, because Naruto is never certain if he's guessing right. He's never been the smartest of the group, after all, that's Sakura's job. And he's not the one with the Sharingan, stolen or inherited, to help him see underneath the underneath.
But then, Sakura isn't able to push like Naruto can, isn't willing to take the chance of earning Sasuke's hatred in order to break his walls down just enough to shout through. And Kakashi isn't able to fully give what Sasuke needs—not with his own mask still securely fastened around his face. There is too much guilt between the two of them to make that kind of relationship possible.
Sasuke goes to Sakura for her soft hands, her calming smile.
He goes to Kakashi for the approval he was never allowed from his father.
Sasuke goes to Naruto for the bruises that show him he's still alive, the marks that tell him he is possessed and wanted, now that Orochimaru's curse seal is faded and gone. He goes to Naruto because Itachi is dead, and Orochimaru is dead, and there's no where else to run to.
And because whatever else Naruto is, he's always there.
It starts with harsh words and Sasuke's twisted mouth which says 'I hate you,' and Naruto has to look closely for the tremble in Sasuke's wrists against his palms which say 'I need you.' He presses his hips down, securing Sasuke's position beneath him and waits while Sasuke writhes and hisses curses underneath his breath.
But Sasuke isn't bucking Naruto off, and his eyes are still the same velvety black colour they were an hour earlier, when Sakura offered him the tomatoes from her lunchbox and Kakashi said he would meet them later for sparring practice. And so Naruto bends his lips to Sasuke's, pressing hard while his hands still capture Sasuke's in what must be a painful grip, and Sasuke freezes beneath him, his mouth forced open with the wet heat of Naruto's tongue, the punishing scrape of Naruto's teeth against his bottom lip.
When Naruto thrusts against him—the tensed, resisting muscle uncomfortably hard against his sensitized skin—Sasuke makes a choked sound of outrage in the back of his throat and his eyes close.
Naruto falters, panics—he can't read Sasuke's eyes if they are closed—has he gone too far this time? Has he crossed a line that cannot be erased or excused? It's so hard to tell and Naruto isn't good at reading people at all. Only because it's Sasuke and he has to, has to try something to keep him here because he promised too many people too may things. Naruto doesn't think he could stand it if Sakura cried a second time.
Moisture beads on Sasuke's forehead and cheeks, rolling down to soak the hair at the nape of his neck, plaster it to his skin. Naruto traces the path with his tongue and Sasuke shudders and makes that choked noise again, the one that sounds a bit like sobbing. I can't possibly break him more then he already is, Naruto thinks to himself.
Still, he is careful.
Open your eyes, he whispers into the bruised and delicate skin of Sasuke's jaw. And Sasuke does, and Naruto recoils from the redness he sees there, not from the Sharingan, but the burn of unshed tears.
I hate you, Sasuke sneers, and Naruto tries to interpret it the best he can, digging sharp nails into Sasuke's thighs and drawing blood so that they can both pretend that the tears that are about to fall from Sasuke's lashes are caused by a different kind of pain.
The death threats are not unusual and Naruto ignores them in favour of stripping Sasuke of his loose clothing, making sure to leave a few raking scratches and purple mouth-shaped bruises in his wake. It's when Sasuke moans his name that Naruto stops, suddenly afraid of what he is doing.
Sasuke's eyes are wide and staring at a spot somewhere above Naruto's left shoulder and Naruto wonders what he's seeing. Itachi, perhaps. Orochimaru. Naruto places a hand on Sasuke's chest, feeling the rapid thump of the Uchiha's heart slamming against his rib cage like it wants to escape. Sasuke whispers something and Naruto leans closer to hear it.
Let me go, Sasuke says, teeth bared and nostrils flared in animal panic.
Naruto swallows the response building in his gut and takes his hands from Sasuke's body, bracing them on the floor on the sides of the other nin's head. He nudges between Sasuke's legs with his thigh and waits.
If Sasuke punches him now it's all over, Naruto thinks. If Sasuke screams and sends a chidori whistling through his chest he'll let him, because that is the price Naruto pays for being wrong, for not understanding the things Sasuke can't say.
But Sasuke's thighs part for him, slowly, and Sasuke's mouth is on Naruto's neck, and he knows that he's read the signs correctly this time. The coupling is rough and painful for both of them, but Naruto has the kyuubi, and Sasuke has Sakura to patch him up. And after Sasuke's bruises are soothed away with tea and harmless chatter, Kakashi can work at building Sasuke's self-confidence until the next time Sasuke needs him, needs him to say the things he still can't quite bring himself to believe.
Let me go.