The Warm Bride.

Chapter four: Warm Night

Bwhaha, the wicked author's note prevails: Eeeee! I'm so sorry again for being horrible and never updating. I have half a million things going on right now—Band and work and school and band and biology II (-sobs-) and band and band and parades and football games and needy friends and kittens and band and just all sorts of things. The only way I get to write anymore is if I overlap things. I began writing this at work but I was afraid my supervisor was going to come up behind me and die from all the lovely smut. So—I waited. I have a ciiggaarrrr! I'm illegaallll!

Um, please review I love you whom have and do! I write this only for you guys really—I am ashamed of this story's triteness. But, also, I enjoy thinking about Sasuke and Naruto getting married too much to pass this up. Can't you just see them in these cute little kimonos and they're standing on the alter and Sasuke let's slip how much he really wants to tap Naruto right in front of everyone…and then they fight and fight and then consummate later on? –sigh—I love you!

P.s. I'm writing with only one hand because I just burned my mother f hand on my mother f curling iron and now it burns like a mother. Wow, I sound completely smart.

P.s.s: I'm going to answer a question one of my reviewers asked about the chapter title. I forgot your name (sorrrryyy) , so just pretend you know who you are.( I considered the silence very warm. It's like, people are diluting the silence and stillness of the world with their imperfect words. As theatre of the absurd says: Language is useless and crap. Whatever you say, it's meaningless. Actions are what spell out what you feel and think—words are just a defective medium. That's why the silence was warm—it was the time when everything was okay and people were, in a way, perfect because their dumbass mouths weren't moving. Does that sound confusing or stupid? It made sense in my mind, sorry if it didn't come through).

P.s.s.s: I'm writing this 10,000 feet in the air. The airplane. Deeeeear lord—I hate heights.



It was strange how quickly the temperature had plummeted from midday. Even though it was still partly winter, the sun had blanketed the world in a very mild warmth that had made frolicking outside with a jacket completely reasonable. Though, when the sun slipped beneath the horizon, the world seemed to have rescinded right back into the bony hands of winter. Naruto had been forced to throw on his heaviest coat and scarf just to stroll outside.

It had been about one in the morning when the team had arrived back in Konoha with disappointed, slumped shoulders. Naruto figured everyone had probably gone home to sleep contentedly beneath their covers, forgetting their failed mission as their eyelids drooped and finally fell. But not Naruto—he knew the moment he ambled into his frigid, frosty apartment that sleep was to elude him tonight. He didn't waste any time even trying. Immediately, he grabbed a thick jacket and proceeded right back out the door.

When he was younger, his sleep had been swamped by nightmares. He had never been able to remember them; he'd simply stir with a terrible fear immobilizing him as if a dozen invisible demons were holding him down. Learning early on that getting back to sleep after such a heightened sensation was nearly impossible, he'd walk the streets until the first frail stretch of sunlight had glided off Hokage tower. He had committed every road and alley to memory by now and so tonight he decided to take the scenic passage through out the desolate, dark streets of Konoha.

Because of its diminutive nature, the village hiding in the leaves completely shut down at eleven a' clock. With the exception of the bar and the all night grocery, every store-front displayed a vacant black window to which created a terrible lonesome feeling inside of his chest. Looking at his reflection in the glass, he found that his face seemed to glow faintly with a tendril of moonlight slipping across his face, making him appear like some estranged, lost ghost—searching aimlessly, but never finding. He slowly drew away from his ghostly manifestation and continued to trudge forward. Shivering, he pulled his jacket tighter to fend against the sudden icy draft that had seized him. He hadn't felt this way in a long time; so lonely that his stomach churned, seemingly as if it was holding itself for comfort. Ever since team seven had regrouped, he had never felt alone, even when he was sitting in his apartment clearly without anybody near him. Always, always, he felt like there was someone there if he needed them. But now—where had that warm security fluttered off to? He felt nothing but cold.

When the twisting and coiling sensation in his tummy felt almost unbearable, he bolted. He ran from all the nonsense of the day; from the unearthed feelings of guilt; from the very cold weight of loneliness. Across a barren street, through a black alleyway, down the throbbing main road of Konoha, Across—down—through—across—a left—

The chilly air had begun to claw his face and make his nose drip by the time he halted. He panted, his lungs desperately reaching for even a thread of air that didn't singe them with a bitter frostiness. Naruto then looked up.

He was standing at the mouth of the imperious Uchiha complex gateway, the iron opening jutting out of the ground like two angry fists locked in mid air. Why had his feet led him here? He didn't know why exactly he walked right beneath it without a second thought, maybe he was just that cold. Reaching Sasuke's specific door, which connected on to a mansion that looked as if it could fit thirty of his own apartments inside it, his hand went to knock against the wood—but it froze in the air. What exactly was he doing there? He really didn't have a valid reason for just showing up on Sasuke's doorstep in the middle of the night, or wait, morning. He'd probably think he was crazy, call him an idiot, and shut the door right in his face. For a moment, he stepped back from the suddenly very terrifying door. The brass knob seemed to sneer at him and whisper: Dobe, dobe, dobe.

Then, somewhere filed in his mind a shameful memory fell into his thoughts and he recalled the night a couple of days ago when Sasuke had forced himself into Naruto's apartment and straddled him on his own couch.

Don't worry, Naruto, we'll be warm together.

Scowling, he marched right back up to the door and instantaneously jammed his finger against the doorbell. Immediately, he wished he hadn't as he heard the ancient, rusty bells chime inside. Soon, the door was gently opened and two widened dark eyes regarded him quizzically before they reverted back into their sly, haughty shape. Alarmed, Naruto adverted his own eyes and glared down at his ragged ninja sandals,

"Teme…" He affirmed quietly, not entirely sure what he was supposed to say. He desperately tried to think of something that would give him a rationale reason to be standing on his doorstep at 2:30 am, but not one sentence came to his rescue.


His lack of coherent words seemed to make some sense to Sasuke, for he stepped back and allowed him to enter.

"Would you like some tea?"

"Hm?" Naruto looked up from his anxiously knotted hands twitching in his lap to stare at the vacant threshold of the kitchen where Sasuke had called out to him. Naruto really had had no idea just how loaded the Uchiha heir was until he first walked in. The craftsmen of his home really had paid a close eye to detail. Every threshold and molding boasted smooth carvings of long, livid looking dragons and forlorn masks. The dark, navy walls were scattered with regal family portraits and paintings, while every table top carried a vase or a decoration of some kind. Even as ornately built his house seemed to be, Naruto grew sad as he gazed through the living room into a dark, dusty hallway that looked as if no man had trod it's hardwood paneling in many years. There seemed to be really three rooms Sasuke lived in, the kitchen, his bedroom, and the living room.

"That bundle of leaves," Sasuke replied, "that if you boil, a very good tasting liquid comes out. It's the stuff you can't make to save your life."

Naruto was suddenly agitated. Why did Sasuke have to be such a damn jerk all the time?

"I know what tea is, teme!" He untangled his hands to cross his arms irritably against his chest. "And for your information, my tea is amazing. You just don't know what good tea tastes like."

Sasuke entered the room carrying two steaming mugs and offered one to Naruto, whom took it with a very quiet 'thanks'.

"Whatever you say, dobe." Taking the chair adjacent to him, Sasuke gently blew across his tea before sipping it and stared at the blonde haired boy almost expectantly.

What was he supposed to say to him now? Naruto couldn't dredge up anything logical to explain his presence. He could make small talk—chat blithely about the suddenly very cold weather, the trees, bunnies, but these things did not seem like they could withstand a conversation between the two. Sasuke and Naruto didn't engage in useless talk; they kept things honest, clean, and open for everyone to see. But, he just couldn't think of a damn thing to say.

Moments of silence passed, amplified by the loud, deep ticking of the tall grandfather clock in the corner. Naruto was desperate to split the quiet in two; he had had enough of the absence of sound for one day—he wanted noise, blessed thick noise to tie his mind into another world so he didn't have to view this one any longer.

Sighing dejectedly, he concluded on offering up a stupid, careless conversation on ramen—but that was not the topic that emitted from his lips. As Naruto looked up from the misting, red mug in his hands and directly into Sasuke's limitless black eyes, he was suddenly struck with an idea that manipulated his mouth.

"Why didn't you kill that man when you had the chance?"

Sasuke frowned and lifted his tea to his lips.

"Isn't it obvious? That other man would have killed you just as soon as I did."

"So?" Naruto suddenly spat, a fiery fury gripped him as his insides twisted and moaned with an unbearable guilt. "She was our client! Our responsibility! I could protect myself, but you just went right in barreling through and being selfish!"

"Yes," Sasuke mocked, sitting his cup on the table to cross his arms. "You were doing such a fine job of keeping yourself out of trouble, I should've just trusted you to carry on."

"She didn't have to die, teme! We could've saved her—I-I-"Naruto felt his gut coil with a fresh wave of guilt and his breath hitched in his throat. He needed to shake if off—somehow—. "Y-you!" He suddenly cried to Sasuke. "It's your fault she died! It's your fault she had to die!"

The guilt seemed to ebb away slightly when he pointed and maniacally accused Sasuke. It felt almost as if the edge was chipping off—making it easier to hold without getting cut. Leaping out off of the couch, his mug crashing to the floor and splintering into several red portions, he growled at the Uchiha heir sitting calmly before him.

"If you had of killed him when you had the chance, then the other would have been powerless! If you had attacked before hand, then she would have lived!"

Sasuke's black eyes flashed momentarily with anger, making them manifest the appearance of two shiny, black stones situated under the sun at midday.

"Really? And had you not been caught, couldn't you of finished them before I even arrived?"

Naruto grimaced as the statement seemed to literally slap him in the face. It was always his fault—always. There were so many times he had been the single reason for the downfall of others. Who had weeded the flowers out of Takahito-san's garden and single handedly failed team seven's first mission? Me. Who had stolen the wrong scroll off a table in a significant mission, which threw off the entire schematics of the assignment? Me.

Who killed Kumiko-san?

"Me," he sighed aloud, flopping back unto the couch. A cloud of dust curled up from the aged cushions as the rusty springs moaned in agony. "It's always somehow my fault isn't it?"

Silence slipped its slick tail back into the room as the fox child rested his head back against the head of the couch and slowly closed his eyes. A massive headache was brewing just behind his right eye and his mind ached with unfulfilled rest. All his thoughts sped by so quickly they just appeared to be smudgy white blurs. It was like he wasn't thinking anything at all, but it was not a serene sensation in the least. Each thought seemed to mummer weighty, accusatory words into his ear until he just had to say something to hear his own voice again.

"Why do people even have to die in the first place?" Naruto rubbed the tender spot between his eyebrows. "I mean, doesn't it seem pointless?"

"Hn." If there was one thing he despised about Uchiha, despite all the thousands of other things he absolutely couldn't stand like his duck-butt hair and arrogant, all-mighty demeanor, it was his 'hn's. They were his way of suppressing a laugh; something the blonde was sure Sasuke was completely allergic too. It was meant mockingly, as if he was secretly amused at someone else's stupidity, but too insolent to keep all the giggles to himself. Naruto looked at him and glowered.

"That sounds just like the kind of moronic question you would ask, dobe."

"What the hell do you mean? You've never thought death was pointless?"

"It does serve a point." He was beginning to despise how collected Sasuke had remained through all Naruto's boisterous ranting. The calm boy nursed at his tea. "Population control."

"Population control?" Naruto repeated feeling very disgusted. "So we die so others can have a place to live? Is that what you're saying teme?"

Sasuke nodded. "Something along the lines, yes."

The clock's ticking pointed out another tense, quiet moment and Naruto felt a small, sad bubble welling inside of his chest.

"That's really…sad."

"Yes, but someone like you would think of it as sacrificing themselves so that others may live."

Naruto looked up at Sasuke and regarded him with miserable eyes.

"Someone like me?"

"Yes, someone as completely naive as you."

Naive. Yes, that was the proper word to portray him. Always, always, always naive—like a deaf child wandering carelessly over a train track with the threatening sound of clunking metal in the background. Naïve—stupid—dumb…He contemplated a moment, gnawing reflexively on his upper lip. "If no one died though, then we really wouldn't need to reproduce."

"Yes, and that would be an unspeakable tragedy." Sasuke, for the first time that night, seemed honestly sincere. Ignoring his blatant perversion, Naruto carried on.

"Then we wouldn't have any more people then we started with. Everyone would have a place and the population would be steady." Feeling a grin flicker victoriously unto his lips, he continued. "Death is pointless, see?"

Slowly, as if locked in the cement between his own words, Sasuke sat his mug carefully down unto the coffee table, leaned back into his armchair, and gazed at Naruto pensively.

"Life needs death, Naruto. You can't have one without the other."

"And just why not?"

Sasuke sighed, his lips parting like an aged book down the middle. "Because humans can't understand the concept of forever. It's unknown—unable to be characterized. There needs to be a beginning and an end to organize life; sort of like day and night."

A flare of fury sent Naruto to his feet again. "But why? Why can't we understand forever? I can! It means that no one has to suffer. No one dies—no one ever suffers."

"That reasoning is flawed." Sasuke declared softly. "People will always suffer. We create it when our needs or desires are not met. Living forever cannot account for every need."

Tears began to claw at the corners of his eyes, but he did not allow them to trail free. One of the most shameful things he could do right then would be to sob in front of Sasuke like some oversized baby. He would not display his frailties—he couldn't afford to have Sasuke judge him like that, not after finally winning his recognition.

"But it would! We could do whatever we want, when we want and not have to worry about dieing. We could be friends with whoever we want; love whoever we want freely because—because then they could never leave us…" His tight guard on his eyes slipped only momentarily and a small drop glided down unto his nose. No--! His throat felt as if his breath had congealed into a ball in his neck. When he spoke, his voice was scarcely a whisper. "Because...they couldn't die."

The cork came spiraling out. Tears now plummeted liberally down his face, leaving watery, miserable tracks in their wake. It was over now—the pressure in his body subsided as he allowed his grief to devastate him. He fell limply back to the couch and simply sat there with his hands clinging frantically to his face to stave the flow. Enveloped in his own shame, he hardly noticed the new additional weight beside him that made the aged, creaking springs in the couch scream tearfully. Then, there was something abruptly tepid spread across his thigh. Peeking through his fingers, Naruto found that the mysterious warm object was in fact Sasuke's hand. Another wandering hand found his chin and tenderly twisted it so he now was compelled to stare Sasuke straight in the eye. Naruto felt worms wiggle in his stomach as he gawked blearily at the Uchihia heir's suddenly gentle black eyes.

"Is this why you won't allow yourself to be close to anyone?"

From then on, Naruto's mind became muddled and hazy. He hardly felt himself being lowered back unto the couch; hardly registered Sasuke's warm body perched over his own, his legs bestriding him. Somewhere in his cloudy far-off brain, a flicker of fear reverberated. His reply slurred as it seemed to drip out the sides of his mouth.

"I allow people to get close to me."

"No you don't." Sasuke responded swiftly, his face edging closer to Naruto's. Quivering at the small span between their noses, he glanced at Sasuke's half-lidded eyes and then shifted his own. "You allow them enough leeway to know you, but to never understand you. Any secret of yours is never told but found out accidentally."

Naruto sniffed; the salty water remaining on his face made his skin cold. "I—That's not true."

"Really?" Sasuke countered, his face plunging all to close to his own. Naruto's eyes clasped tightly together as he felt the Uchihia heir's lips softly kiss the lingering tears.

"Then prove me wrong." Abruptly, he drew up. "Tell me a secret."

Naruto felt warm all over. Every wire in his body was frazzled, the tips short circuiting and prohibiting any use of his arms and legs to attempt to pry himself out from beneath Sasuke. His face was so overheated that he could almost feel how red it was. Everything was foggy and so damn warm.


Sasuke's eyes narrowed; his undivided attention pooled into staring Naruto straight in the eye. It was as if a line was created between the two; a stiff, sharp line that bore directly through their pupils and right into the deep cogs of their mind. "A secret. I want a secret."

Breaking eye contact quickly, he squirmed and lightly nudged his offending partner on top of him.

"This is stupid, Sasuke. I'm going home."

Another squirm, another wiggle, each matched with Sasuke's unwavering figure. Becoming promptly agitated, the warm fog ebbing slightly from his mind too, he opened his mouth in preparation to lavish Sasuke with hundreds of curses when, suddenly, his lips were covered. Sasuke had leaned forward, obviously sensing the stream of slander ready to spew forth, and kissed him.

His lips were light and feathery against his own. The sweet tenderness of the movement his teammate's mouth made threw chills up and down his back and sent the worms in his stomach into a frenzy, wiggling all around. Hesitantly, Naruto matched his gentle rhythm, but only slightly. Sasuke did not become feverish with lust however with the introduction of Naruto's tentative lips, no, he remained just as tender as before and drew up moments later. As if the haze in his mind had doubled, Naruto became silent and still as he gaped, as if hypnotized, by the flakes of light cinnamon brown in Sasuke's profoundly dark eyes.

"A secret." He commanded, lightly panting. Feeling horribly silly and very ashamed of his previous actions, Naruto delved deep into the forgotten archives of his memories.

"I don't really have any that you don't already know." He announced after a moment of pondering. Sasuke then began to lean forward deliberately. Alarmed that another startling kiss was coming, Naruto abruptly turned his head away, but Sasuke only nuzzled his cheek. He murmured in his ear, allowing his breath to purposefully swell inside of it.

"Everyone has their secrets and you more than anybody. Don't you desperately want to prove me wrong?"


His cheek was snuggled again as a transient kiss was softly fixed upon the small dip between his cheekbone and eye.

"Then tell me yours."

"I don't like cats. They always scratch me."

"Deeper." Sasuke growled in his ear as he leisurely licked its shell. Naruto's back arching slightly at the touch, his mind seemed to have completely clouded over with a thick mist that prevented any rational thought to be assembled.

"I used to have a teddy bear. But some kids threw it in the river."

His partner snorted in his ear and the tickling sensation of his breath shot through his veins and sent the little hairs on his arms spiraling upwards.

"That's obvious. I want more."

How did Sasuke do this to him? One moment he was completely rational, a little bedraggled yes, but logical all the same and now…He was an ineffective lump of flesh bending to every one of the Uchihia's commands.

"I-I don't really like Ramen all that much."

Silence. Abruptly, Sasuke sat up erect and gawked down at Naruto. Twiddling his thumbs, he nervously laughed.

"Ha, well see—I mean it's good. I like it okay but I'm definitely not as crazy about it as it seems. Well I am, but not because it tastes good or anything like that, but well it does taste good but not—"

"Elaborate." Sasuke demanded.

"Well, um, since I was little I've always kind of felt…"A fresh wave of tears cropped up beneath his eyes and he paused to collect himself, not desiring to weep freely again. Really, what was wrong with him tonight? He knew he cried sometimes but twice in one night, in one hour, in front of his arch rival/scary man suitor? Just what the hell was going on with his emotions?

"Felt?" Sasuke waited for him to continue rather impatiently.

"Felt an empty feeling in my chest." He finished a little too loudly as he struggled to push his words through the lead-like lump in his neck. He wanted that to be all—for Sasuke to figure the rest out without having to elaborate further, but his teammate's curious gaze disallowed that.

"Ramen is hot and I like mine scalding. I realized when I ate it so hot like that that the empty sad feeling in my chest seemed to go away kinda. I think it might be because it burned my throat and it throbbed so I got my mind off it or maybe it was just so warm and I was always…so cold, but it just went…"Feeling as though he couldn't look any more weaker and stupid in front of the Uchihia heir, he permitted his tears to cascade. "…away."

He sobbed. He knew that Sasuke must be thinking he was puny and unmanly, but he wept nonetheless. Sasuke bent forward again and began to hurriedly kiss several spots on his face, his sopping eyelids, his wet cheek, the tip of his nose. Unlike last time however, Naruto found he could not halt the flow. His shoulders trembled and his eyes drowned as he just kept crying, the misery of the day finally bobbing to the surface and consuming him.

His partner seemed to of realized this and shifted his body so that he was lying aligned next to him on his side so that his arms could completely clutch him. Sasuke was holding him, accepting how obviously pathetic he was. Hiccupping miserably, he turned into his wide, open arms and cried unreservedly into the downy fabric of Sasuke's shirt. The arms, in turn, encircled around him and gently rubbed his spine.

Outside, the dark navy sky remained emotionless to the transition occurring inside the massive, dusty house below it. The stars still glistened with the same light as before; the moon still plucked the same haunting ballad with the iridescent rays it emitted. The world did not take any notice in the evolution of the two boys, from simple friends to something entirely different and undefined.

He didn't know how long it took for his tears to finally ebb, but he knew that it had to of taken a while. Sasuke's shirt he had seized in his fists was drenched. He felt so ashamed, his face and insides were blazing with it. Just letting a couple of tears slip would be enough shame to deal with but no, he hadn't just cried, he had sobbed and had clung desperately to Sasuke as if drowning. Lightly, he attempted to push off out of Sasuke's arms to run with his tail securely between his legs and hide, but the limbs around him gripped him like steel bars.

So, he simply laid there, the grandfather clock and his occasional sniffles the only noise resounding in the room. He stayed awkwardly still in Sasuke's arms, unsure of how exactly to lever himself out. Closing his eyes, he contented himself by listening to the ringing of the clock in the corner.




Naruto sighed. It seemed fitting that the majestic and ornate grandfather clock was broken; it didn't exactly tick on every second and it seemed to burp instead of chime. Everything in the aged, cold house was dying. He could see why Sasuke was so eager to hump and hold unto him—he was the only bright, vivacious object in the whole complex. It didn't make Sasuke any less crazy in his eyes though—he was still absolutely insane.

"You know I'm not a crybaby." Naruto finally croaked after he couldn't take the sound of the burping clock any longer. His voice was strangely tight and hoarse.

"I know."

Naruto looked up at Sasuke's chin that had been resting pleasantly on top of his head.

"I don't normally cry this much."

"I know." His partner's face stayed impassive, but his eyes seemed to be glowing with mirth. Naruto glared.

"Really, I don't." Involuntarily, he yawned; weeping like that had made him endlessly tired.

"I believe you."

"It's only because you're a bastard and got me all worked up."

"Whatever you say."

"I mean it!"

"Naruto," Sasuke suddenly sounded very curious. "Why do you smell like vanilla?"

He didn't know why he flushed. Maybe it was the fact Sasuke had admitted to smelling him. For some reason, that didn't bode well in Naruto's mind.

"The old hag in the apartment under me only burns vanilla candles and we share an air duct so my apartment smells like cats and candles too."


"But it's okay—she gets pay back every time I have to fart."

Sasuke sighed and placed his chin back on top of Naruto's untamed spikes.

"You really know how to ruin a moment, dobe."

"There wasn't a moment to ruin, teme."

Another sigh ruffled the top of his hair.

"You don't know a thing about romance."

Naruto choked on his own spit and was compelled to sit up straight had it not been for the strapping arms binding him in place.

"Romance?! Who says this is romance?" He howled into Sasuke's chest.

"Well, you're my fiancé. What else would it be?"

"I never agreed to that!"

Sasuke cackled devilishly. "You will."

Naruto felt a distinct rising irritation at his teammate's arrogance.

"How can you expect me to think of you like that? You've only ever been an ass to me…Well, okay sometimes you can be nice, but that is really rare—really, really rare. Normally, people who get engaged date or something before hand or even just like-"

Suddenly, Sasuke chuckled loudly, his voice rumbling in his chest and Naruto listened to it tumble pleasantly in his ribcage.

"You want to be courted!" His partner exclaimed, his grip on Naruto tightening slightly as he struggled to regain his composure. "I had no idea you were so old fashioned Naruto!"

Desperately tired of arguing, Naruto let it go. He felt so blessedly warm, even the very tips of his toes were tepid—he just let go and allowed himself to be held. Closing his eyes slowly, he concluded he'd set him straight later in the morning, when his eyelids weren't as heavy and the chilly draft that blew just before the sun ascended shook him back into rationality.


(Neji time! Neji time! Neji time! Wooooooo!)

Neji's eyelids unfastened every morning at precisely 6:08 am. After a brisk eighteen minute shower, he then proceeded to eat one evenly sliced half of grapefruit and down a small glass of milk. After certain toiletries were methodically taken care of, Neji set out from the Hyuuga home promptly at 7:00 am to take a short morning stroll to awaken and revitalize his body and spirit. He took the same path everyday, through the slowly stirring main street of Konoha, through a dank alley that smelled like mildew and the remnants of yesterday's trash, across a sleepy, unnamed street, and then into the forest to measure the conditions for training later that day. After properly evaluating the day's worth, he would them make the same trek back. Every day was the same; it was how he survived in this ever evolving world—by controlling his schedule so that everything remained exactly how he wanted it too.

This particular morning started out to be just like every other in his long listless amount of mornings, but as he began his hike back to his home he found something completely odd hiding behind the massive archway to the Uchihia clan complex


The boy with unruly blonde spikes turned his head and looked at Neji with a strange expression of relief.

"Oh thank god, it's just you Neji!" The boy sighed gladly, stepping out from behind the gate. Neji instantly noticed his half-dressed state, his bright orange jacket hanging limply in his arm, and his hair which was ruffled and more wild than usual. He had to confess, the boy looked terribly adorable at the moment.

After getting his ass royally kicked all those many years ago, Neji had begun to actually take notice to the strange, lively creature that was Naruto. Some people would think that he stared maybe a bit too much at the easily agitated boy, but at least he didn't gawk at him as much as his cousin used to. She was pathetic. He was simply…interested.

"Listen, I need a favor, when Sasuke comes out I need you to—"

A new voice resounded as the haughtily prancing figure of Sasuke Uchihia came into view just feet beyond Naruto.

"Naruto! I was wondering where you went."

"—Hide me!" Naruto squeaked as he dashed behind Neji just as Sasuke appeared beside the gate. Eyeing him suspiciously, Sasuke smirked.

"Neji-kun, it's always a delight to see you." The words, however pleasantly voiced, were drenched in spite and ill intentions. Neji matched his tone easily.

"As it is to see you too, Sasuke-kun."

Naruto looked frantically between the two and then grinned widely.

"Well great! Seems like you two need to catch up some, so I'll just be on my way."

Sasuke's leer widened at least three inches and Neji noted that Naruto's gleeful face plummeted automatically.

"You hardly made any sound when you got up off—"

In a transient, orange flash, Naruto fled from behind Neji and to Sasuke, planting his hand firmly over his mouth.

"What's going on?" Neji inquired, wondering vaguely if this was how the two interacted all the time. It was quite well-known the two were close, but at the moment they both seemed to be hiding a precious piece of knowledge—something that obviously Naruto wanted to remain undisclosed while Sasuke desired to divulge it to the entire world.

"I um—"Naruto blatantly panicked at the question. "We had a little bit of a sleepover last night and I was supposed to make pancakes and EW! Sasuke that's just gross!" The wild boy's hand retreated swiftly from Sasuke's mouth and he proceeded to brandish it madly through the air as if it were on fire.

"He licked it…ewwwww, ewwwwwwww." He murmured as he wiped his entire arm desperately on his pants leg. Sasuke looked thoroughly pleased.

"You didn't mind my salvia so much last night."


Neji had never seen Naruto's eyes grow so large, as if they were swirling with a mixture of horrible shock and fear. Faintly, he himself was interlocked between the two emotions. He did not desire to pick apart the situation clearly and examine it like a good little ninja should…he preferred to wipe his mind free before any unwanted thoughts sailed across it.

"Ah! He's joking! Haaa, so funny Sasuke." Naruto looked as if he was going to faint any moment, his eyes dancing anxiously to Neji and then back to his teammate. "So damn funny."

"I don't find it humorous at all." Sasuke leered.

"Well, it is! So…laugh you jerk!"

"There is nothing funny about you leaving and not bothering to wake me up. I only noticed because you drooled all over the pillow you put in my arms before you left." \

Neji could tell that Naruto wanted to die and Neji was feeling similar sentiments. He was an awkwardly placed character in the little drama performing before him and he—really wanted to know just what was going on.

"What are you…?" Neji had honestly meant to finish the sentence but the alarmed expression slapped across Naruto's face made his mouth click shut. This made Sasuke's conceited sneer lessen as the corners of his lips created a merry smile.

"We're dating." He proudly confirmed, seizing Naruto's hand and holding unto it like a gleaming trophy.

"Oh god," Naruto whispered tearfully, slapping his free hand against his forehead, evidently in an attempt to lose consciousness.

…And that was about the time when Neji bolted.


Author's note: BWHAHAHHAHAHAHa…ha…he..ho…very few chapters left! It's two in the morning on Christmas eve...Merry Christmas everybody! I hope I have time to write a Christmas story. I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! Shit! I forgot to add something. Oh well…I'll just explain to you now…

The same person who brought up the silence issue also brought up the whole issue with what Kumiko said about not stealing his fiancé's heart blah-de-blah-blah…I was going to explain it somewhere but, then I didn't. I forgot. Damn it. Well, if you really want to know, email me. If you could give a flying shit less, then um…don't email me. Review, I heart you all so much! (So does my cat, this is what she has to say "sjafhgo8ehir lnsiedoj fo39")

Pssssss: Neji doesn't really like like Naruto—he just finds him very interesting. I didn't want to make this story toooo trite with every boy in the anime being helplessly gay and pining desperately after him (even though we all know they are and would). Although, Gaara may have a bit of an unhealthy adoration for Naru-chan. He'll pop up later (maybe)((If I can remember to add him in))(((someone remind me later))).