Well folks, this is quite a momentous occasion. My very first SasuNaru...GASP! I'm sure this will come as a shock to most of you who have read my stuff, but...I must confess. This pairing is my guilty pleasure. :grin: I sincerely hope y'all enjoy!

Some things never change, nor should they. Some things are constants, there to bring order to chaos, to provide a sense of comfort, small as it may be. Some things tear holes in other things, destroy them, burn through them like acid. Some things seduce while they maim, mask the pain with pleasure, make you forget to remember.

"Sasuke…you're fucking bleeding…you're bleeding all over the place, you fucking asshole."

"Shut up," he says, pressing his palms against his eyes. "Just shut up, Naruto."

"Don't tell me what to do," the blonde snaps, hands on Sasuke's shoulders. He shakes him, hard. "Don't you dare." His voice is raw, almost guttural.

So unlike Naruto, he thinks. But this is what happens when they're together. The anger, pent-up, stockpiled, has no place to go except out. No place except between them, festering, scalding, anger born of fear. Anger born of love.

Some things start as one thing and become another thing.

"Let go," Sasuke says, palms still pushing his eyes back, back, back, into his head. No more sharingan. No more curse. No more revenge. Back and back and back.

"Sasuke." Naruto's hands move from the other boy's shoulders to his wrists, gripping them so tightly the skin around his fingers turns white. "Stop that. Stop it right now." Straining with the effort, he pries Sasuke's hands away, holds them down. "Haven't you hurt yourself enough? Haven't you?"

What if he hasn't? What if he wants to hurt more? He's an avenger. Hurting defines him, hurting makes him who he is. Hurting disguises weakness. Hurting is a haven.

"You know nothing," he murmurs. "Nothing…"

Naruto's mouth opens and closes. "Then why did you fucking come here?" He snarls, nails biting into Sasuke's wrists. "Why? You're Orochimaru's pawn, aren't you? He's giving you what you want, more than your friends ever could."

Some things are better left unspoken.

Sasuke looks ahead, at the wall, and sees a calendar. The pinup girl for June is a freckly redhead in a green bikini with eyes as blue as Naruto's.

For whatever reason, that little detail strikes him as amusing, and his lips quirk.

Naruto notices. "You think this is funny?" His hands drop like lead weights. "I'm not playing, Sasuke," he says, deadly quiet. "I've had it. You walk all over me, you walk all over Sakura…" He breaks off and begins pacing, expression furious. Sasuke watches him, listens as he mutters to himself, but remains silent. He cannot defend himself, and he does not wish to. Let Naruto believe what he will. Sasuke's motives are irrelevant; he is here, and that is all that matters.

"Damn it."

Naruto pauses, the play of emotions on his face difficult to discern because there are so many. He has always been an emotional person, Sasuke notes, and maturity has done nothing to diminish that. "You're getting blood everywhere."


Impassively, Sasuke lowers his eyes to examine the wound on his chest. His white shirt is saturated, and his black breeches are shiny with moisture. Further inspection reveals that the footprints he tracked into the apartment are red.

"Unfortunate," he says, and Naruto makes a strangled noise.


Turning on his heel, the blonde boy storms out of the tiny kitchen where Sasuke stands and flings the bathroom door open with such force that it slams against the wall. About fifteen seconds later he emerges, carrying two rags for mopping up the blood, some bandaging, and a bottle of peroxide.

"I shouldn't be the one doing this," he mutters agitatedly. "Sakura knows how to fix people up, not me—"


Sasuke's sudden vehemence surprises him—and judging from Naruto's befuddled look, it surprises him too.


"She…I don't want her to know."

Working his jaw, Naruto blinks, and releases his breath in an explosive whoosh. "Okay. I'll…I'll figure it out." Stepping forward, he fumbles with the rags a moment, as if trying to decide what to do with them. "Screw this," he says eventually. "C'mere and sit." He transfers the rags to the hand holding the peroxide and bandages and grabs Sasuke by the sleeve, towing him to a chair at the kitchen table. The Uchiha heir submits without protest, gazing blandly at Naruto while he begins the arduous process of cleaning the wound.

"How the hell did this happen?" Naruto asks as he gingerly draws the shirt away from the gash.

Some things are secrets that wear the semblances of lies.


Naruto's brow puckers. "Bull." He rubs a rag along skin as pale as wax, though tainted. Some blood comes off, some smears.

"It was an accident," Sasuke says again. Naruto is already involved; there is no use in digging him a deeper grave. He will not understand why Sasuke ordered Kabuto to deliver the blow as punishment, besides. He will not understand why Orochimaru agreed. He will not understand that Sasuke is weak, and his weakness is consuming him, distracting him. He will not understand that this is their final meeting on neutral ground, and that after this, there is ashes and dust, there is emptiness, there is revenge.

Oh, he has made it clear that he intends to slay his brother at all costs. Naruto is not nearly as dense as he appears. His eyes see more than he lets on—Sasuke knows this better than anyone. Naruto is fully aware of Sasuke's intentions, and how far into the bowels of hell he means to sink to ensure their fruition. Sakura must have a suspicion, of course. He does not discredit her intelligence, yet she is not connected to Sasuke as Naruto is. There is something missing, something that he cannot name, but feels whenever he interacts with Naruto, and Sasuke values the feeling because, beyond the pain, the living anger, he feels nothing.

"Fine. I get it," Naruto says, tossing aside the bloodied rag and dumping peroxide on the unsullied one. Ah, but he doesn't get it. Beautiful, the irony…

Sasuke is glad he came.

"Your milk spoiled yesterday," he observes. The carton is on the table, next to a pile of magazines and a few cups of instant ramen.

Focused on his task, Naruto grunts. "Yeah. Gotta run to the store soon."



Sasuke snorts.

Some things endure despite the circumstances.

"I'm dreaming," Naruto says abruptly, though the rag's movement doesn't cease. "Or…hallucinating. You're not here. You're not. I'm carrying on this fucking conversation with myself." He shakes his head. "You can't be here. It's not that easy. Sakura and I…three years we searched for you. Three years. And when we found you…" His blue, blue eyes grow distant.

"Say it," Sasuke urges.

"You were prepared to kill us."

The dark-haired boy reaches out and touches Naruto's cheek, feather-light, lingering.

"Do dreams have flesh?" Sasuke whispers.

Naruto recoils as if burned. "No," he says. "No…"

"I am here."

"Why?" Naruto demands, eyes flashing. "Why, after three years, after fucking with my head…"

"Accept it." Sasuke's voice is a vapor. "Accept that I am here now and be done with it."

Some things do not have explanations.

"Bastard," Naruto growls through clenched teeth. A testament to his resilience, he picks up the rag he dropped and finishes the job, because that's just the way he is.

"Thank you," Sasuke says.

Apparently, it was the wrong thing to say.

"Thank you? Thank you?" Naruto raises enough to snake a hand behind Sasuke's neck and drag his face forward, so close to his own that their noses brush, their breath intermingles. "I don't need your thanks, Sasuke. Not anymore. It's meaningless. How can you thank me when you're destroying yourself, huh? God—" Without warning, his lips are on Sasuke's, violent, accusing, possessive, hating him and loving him all at once, a brand and a gift. "Don't forget me," Naruto murmurs against his mouth. "Don't you fucking forget…"

Sasuke closes his eyes.

Don't forget this bond.

He must. He has to sever it. He has to let it go.

But not now.

Now, he will savor it, because that is why he came.

"Shut up, Naruto. You talk too much."


When he wakes in the morning, sheets tangled around his naked torso, bloody bandages strewn across the floor, Sasuke has already gone.

Some things are inevitable.