Disclaimer: This story is being co-written by mirandler43 of We do not own Naruto, nor do we intend to profit financially from this story.

In the days since Kiba's departure, the wing had grown quiet and solemn. The nurses had made their rounds a bit slower, group had met twice as often, the boys' meds had been temporarily upped.

Lee was faring better than expected, much to everyone's surprise. He was the quickest to transition to the eerie silence and calm of the once-bustling common room. Shikamaru was dealing in his usual way: ignoring it. He put his head down and continued with his daily activities, shaking off comforting touches and cajoling tones, telling people to stop treating him like an infant. He and Lee mingled enough to keep each other occupied and were generally handling the change well.

As was to be expected, Naruto was hit hard. He generally stayed put: in his room, sitting at the table, watching television. He didn't move much, didn't say much. When he did move, he just shuffled around the common room slowly, eyes focusing on nothing in particular. Everyone managed to avoid asking if he was alright since Lee had asked him about six hours after Kiba had left—Naruto had looked up and smiled sadly; then, not saying a word, he'dwalked away. They all practiced giving him a pretty wide berth, not wanting to make his grief any more intense. The first two nights after Kiba had left, soft crying could be heard coming from beneath Naruto's padded door.

Sasuke watched all of this unfold in an awkward limbo between panic and utter detachment. On one hand, he was leaving. What was the sense in getting all worked up over something that would just be a distant memory in a matter of weeks? Yet, on the other hand...

...he was leaving. Leaving the best friends he had ever known, the most secure home he had seen since his parents' deaths. It came down to whether he wanted to leave quietly or be dragged out kicking and screaming. Neither option was the least bit appealing.

Sasuke quit trying to watch whatever VH1 show it was that Lee had picked out this time; instead, drawing a foot up off the floor and curling it underneath himself, he watched Naruto. Naruto was decidedly unaware of anything around him, staring at the television screen blankly. Sasuke frowned and idly rubbed a spot under his ribcage with his fore and middle fingers. He wondered if he could ask a nurse for a Tums, or something. All of this not telling people things was definitely getting to his digestive system.

Naruto stayed still on his side of the couch, eyes never leaving the screen and face never making any sign of recognition, not of the program or of Sasuke's glances. Sasuke was caught between wanting Naruto to wake the hell up so he could tell him and get all of this over with, and wanting Naruto to stay just like he was. And wanting either of those things made Sasuke feel like he was the smallest person in the world.

Sasuke didn't look up when he heard the door to the wing open and close quietly; nurses coming and going weren't an altogether uncommon occurance. But Shikamaru's bland " 'sup Shizune" carrying from where he was sitting at the table was enough to bring him to full alertness.

He watched uneasily as Shizune talked to Shikamaru, her voice barely audible across the room and Shikamaru's dropping in suit. Sasuke's whole body froze in tension, especially whenever he happened to catch Shikamaru glancing around the room while they talked. It felt like he was staring right at him. Sasuke exhaled shallowly and thanked his stars that Naruto was still barely aware of his surroundings, much less Sasuke and the changes in his idiosyncrasies.

Finally Shikamaru stood up and walked over to the couch. He plopped down next to Lee, grabbed the remote and waved absently in Sasuke's direction. Sasuke's eyebrows drew together in confusion and he didn't move until Shikamaru looked at him in exasperation and pointed at him, then Shizune emphatically.

Why he couldn't just talk, Sasuke would never completely get. Bastard. Sasuke rolled his eyes but got up from the couch without saying a word, careful not to disturb the faux peace in the room with his movements. Maybe Naruto wouldn't even notice Shizune was in the room.

He was totally in denial. Because those death vibes rolling off Shizune in waves were practically palpable.

Shizune called his name like she couldn't see him walking toward her.

"What?" he asked as graciously as he could manage at the moment, stopping a few feet away.

She turned and started walking slowly back toward the door. "I need to speak with you."

Somehow Sasuke knew what was coming; even if Shizune's tone hid her intentions, her eyes certainly did not. Reluctantly, he followed her to the door, expecting to follow her out into the hallway, but instead she turned sharply on her heel to face him.

Now the strange combination of anger, irritation and impatience filled more than her eyes. Sasuke tried very hard not to look directly into them.

"Why haven't you told him?"

Sasuke did look up then. Quickly. Then around the room, even faster. "Why are we talking about his here?!"

Shizune glared. "Why haven't you told him?"

Sasuke adopted a defensive stance only a fourteen-year-old could assume would work as an adequate bluff. "What makes you think I haven't?"

"I'm going to tell him." With that, Shizune moved past him, stalking back into the common room towards Naruto and Lee.

Sasuke's eyes shot wide and he reached out and grabbed her arm in an effort to stop her, but of course, she would shake him off.

"You should have told him, Sasuke. You had more than a fair chance."

Sasuke watched, horror rising higher in his throat as Shizune neared the couch until a weird, somewhat strangled sound of dismay surfaced.

She didn't stop.

Bitch! All Sasuke could wrap his head around was that she of all people should have been able to recognize what a sign of progress that sound was.

Shizune reached the arm of the couch.

"Shizune, no, wait!" Sasuke hissed as his body finally sprang into action and hurtled toward her until she was within reach. Taking hold of her arm quickly, he managed to drag her back until they reached the table and she decided to dig her heels in.

Sasuke glanced nervously at the couch's occupants, then back at her. "I'll tell him," he whispered as covertly as he could. Shizune raised an eyebrow without making any sign of acquiescence, much to Sasuke's unease. He could quite easily see her stalking over and blurting out everything in Naruto's confused, unexpecting face.

"When?" Shizune's voice snapped Sasuke's gaze back to her face. "When will you tell him, Sasuke? Because it seems to me that you've had plenty of chances--"

"Tonight, I'll tell him tonight," Sasuke replied quickly in a hushed tone. Shizune made no move for several seconds, staring at Sasuke in that blank, seeing way that he'd always hated. He finally rolled his eyes.

Shizune pulled her arm free and started towards the door. Sasuke let out a relieved sigh and followed. She looked at him reproachfully.

"Why haven't you told him, Sasuke?"

"I'll tell him tonight," Sasuke said in a forced tone.

"Yeah, you will. Because if you don't, I'm telling him first thing in the morning. And it will not be fun," said Shizune as she opened the door.

"Got it."

Shizune looked at him then, holding the door open but not moving through it. "Don't be flippant about this, Sasuke," she said sternly. "The only reason I gave you the opportunity to tell him yourself was because I thought you could handle it, and because he might take the news better coming from you. Now," she laughed sardonically, "now there's no way that this can end well."

Sasuke looked her in the eye. "I'll tell him tonight."

Shizune looked back at him, equally serious. "Don't disappoint me, Sasuke," she said, then turned and left.

Sasuke swallowed at the closed door before looking back over his shoulder at Naruto and Lee who were, God bless them, completely oblivious.

Shikamaru, though, was looking a little enlightened. Sasuke really wasn't excited about that. At all. But he squared his shoulders as best he could and headed back over to the couch anyway.

Naruto was still fairly comatose, but Sasuke could handle that. Actually, he preferred that, and if he could just stay that way all through the news Sasuke needed to deliver, that would be great.

Shikamaru was still looking at him. It was unnerving, really, how the guy could always see two steps ahead of the here and now.

Shikamaru had no idea what the hell was going on with the kid sitting across the table from him. He watched Sasuke grimace slightly as he rubbed his side.

Had no idea.

"What's the deal?"

Sasuke looked at him. "Your deal."

"No, dumbass,what's your deal."

Sasuke just shrugged and reached for the cards Shikamaru was pushing his way.

Shikamaru glanced shrewdly at him once more before following suit, taking up his own cards and organizing them in numerical order by suit. Eight spades and three various reds. Looked like he was going for the straight. He discarded one of the reds and motioned for Sasuke to draw. Sasuke grabbed a card and quickly tossed it back on top of Shikamaru's old card on the table. The play continued in silence for a few more draws until Sasuke's movements briefly stuttered as he discarded a low spade and glanced back up at Shikamaru, eyes narrowed inquisitively.

"What do you think you know?" he asked as Shikamaru reached forward for his card.

Shikamaru looked back at him coolly. "I think that you aren't helping Naruto at all with your stupid stand-off crap," he replied and discarded another useless red. Sasuke frowned.

"You know what I'm talking about," Shikamaru continued, watching Sasuke draw a new card across the table, waiting for some visual clue that he was on the right track. Because otherwise he was just making a stuttering fool out of himself. "Naruto's all torn up over Kiba, and you're suddenly staying as far away from him as you can."

Sasuke continued to frown but discarded another spade, giving Shikamaru all the clue he needed.

"And," Shikamaru smirked as he plucked the card off of the discard pile, "I think that Shizune was getting tired of you acting like a complete asshole and told you to suck it up and..." Shikamaru glanced away, furrowing his eyebrows in thought. "Although I don't know why she could get mad at you for, what, not making her job easier?"

Sasuke was the one smirking now, at least until Shikamaru laid down his hand and blandly declared "Gin!".


Shikamaru grabbed up the discard and clean piles of cards with his own and began to shuffle them together.

"Did you cheat?" Sasuke asked incredulously.

"I don't cheat," Shikamaru replied, his voice distracted as he aligned the cards in his hands. "I'm awesome."

"Whatever. Deal."

"Hold your horses, sunshine," Shikamaru started with a wry smile but stopped short at the combination of the noise of a bedroom door opening and the sight Sasuke's body suddenly going completely taut.

Interesting. But not new.

Naruto walked towards them, rather bouncy, considering what his state had been earlier. Shikamaru watched with mounting amusement as Sasuke's jaw tensed and his eyes dropped stonily to his cards.

Yeah, something was definitely up. That, or Sasuke was just a really frigid lover.

Naruto walked over to the table behind Sasuke and peered over his shoulder. "Whatcha playing?"

Sasuke cleared his throat. "Gin."

"Oh," Naruto said in the brightest tone Shikamaru had heard from him in at least a week. He leaned over Sasuke's shoulder and looked at his cards with a hint of a smile. "Who's winning?"

"Me," Shikamaru interjected quickly, tossing cards casually back and forth between himself and Sasuke on the table.

"One game," Sasuke muttered, his jaw still visibly clenched.

"We doing best of three?"


Shikamaru smirked, amused. "Game on."

"Okay, I'm going to the bathroom," Naruto announced, briefly resting his chin on Sasuke's shoulder before standing up and walking away. Shikamaru didn't bother to pretend he wasn't watching when Sasuke sighed at the audibly click of the bathroom door. And Sasuke knew, of course. Why else were his eyes so steadfastly averted?

"Losers first, Sasuke."

Sasuke did glare at him then. But it was more of a weary glare than a heated one, Shikamaru painfully noted, and the momentary eye contact was dropped quickly in favor of drawing the first card.

Shikamaru canted his head to the side inquisitively as he watched Sasuke discard a low black. Reaching forward, he took a card from the clean pile. "What's the deal, Sasuke?" he repeated.

Sasuke closed his eyes. "Shika," he said lowly, then sighed. "Just let it be."

The bathroom door opened and Naruto's short blond head popped out of the bathroom. Predictably, Sasuke stopped all movement, except to open his eyes and stare meaninglessly at his cards, and Shikamaru shook his head subtly. "Don't think I can," he said quietly as Naruto made his way back to the table. Sasuke looked at him, a glare backed by a hint of subdued panic, and Shikamaru looked back, mind frustratingly sluggish at making the connection between Naruto's presence and Sasuke's apparent distress.

Meanwhile, Naruto was sitting down across from him and grinning expectantly in Sasuke's direction. Sasuke was once more Sasuke the Statue. Both were disconcertingly out of place.

"How's it going?" Naruto asked. Shikamaru shrugged and discarded.

"How many games do you have left?"

"Two," Sasuke replied, his voice slightly higher in pitch than normal, ironically tense from trying not to sound tense. Shikamaru watched the pair closely as Sasuke drew a new card: Naruto was bent from the waist, leaning down over Sasuke with a hand on one of Sasuke's shoulders and his head hovering over Sasuke's other, looking at Sasuke's hand pleasantly. Sasuke was uncharacteristically edgy, though, and that of course was where Shikamaru's attention lingered, for while he knew Sasuke to be…rather blank, he was not tense, especially if Naruto was within touching distance. Sasuke was holding still, as if he was holding his breath, not looking at Naruto or Shikamaru, like he was afraid something would happen if he instigated anything.

Or come undone.

Suddenly images of moments past and broken remembrances were flashing through his mind but not connecting with theories; Shikamaru shook his head, but still nothing was quite making sense. At least, nothing concrete. The only common thread he could find was Sasuke's insistent silence when Naruto was around.

And then he was snapping back to awareness, Sasuke's hardened gaze crashing into him harshly. He was aware of Naruto looking at him and Sasuke alternately, confusion blooming lightly on his face; he was aware of Sasuke's subconscious refusal to figuratively push Naruto in any direction with any kind of stimulus, be it touch or spoken word. He was all at once vividly aware of the sudden standstill in their relationship.

"Naruto," Sasuke said, looking away from Shikamaru and at the blond instead, and for a moment everything looked like it had a week ago. He smiled. "We're almost done playing. I'll meet you in my room in a little bit, okay?"

Naruto beamed and nodded. "Whenever you're ready." He stood with a hand on Sasuke's shoulder, then left them. Shikamaru waited until he heard the door close before he broke his silence with an internal cough. Sasuke looked at him again, but this time it was an expression of resignation that faced Shikamaru.

"You don't want it to change," Shikamaru blurted out, preferring to dive right in than to play the inevitable games that would ensue if he didn't. Sasuke frowned in question. "His...mood, or whatever. His mindset."

"You think I want him to stay depressed?"

"No, I think you don't want his depression to increase or decrease," Shikamaru returned evenly. "Clearly, you don't. You barely even look at him."

"What are you saying, Shika?" Sasuke asked irritably.

"I'm saying, you..." Shikamaru looked at the tabletop absently, trying to piece it all together. "I'm saying there's something up, and you don't want to deal with it. You don't want to deal with Naruto dealing with it." He glanced up at Sasuke. "Yeah?"

Sasuke sighed. "What do you know, Shikamaru?"

"I don't know anything," Shikamaru replied with a humorless laugh. "I wish I knew something. I wish you would just fucking come out with it and quit this."

Sasuke raised his eyebrows with a nod, but didn't say anything.

"Question is, why won't you tell Naruto?" Shikamaru asked, somewhat absentmindedly.

Sasuke looked away, leaning forward in his chair and resting his elbows on top of his knees, chin settling atop closed fists. Shikamaru watched him, his mind still rapidly shooting ideas at each other. Aim, fire...and all he had to show for it was a hole to the left of the bullseye.

"This is retarded, Sasuke," he finally said roughly.

Sasuke glared, irritation growing more and more evident in his posture. "I don't owe you anything, Shika."

"I think you do, considering you're fucking up the lovely dynamic we've got going here."

Sasuke laughed. "Oh, you don't even know."

Shikamaru raised his eyebrows and sat upright in his chair. "I'm sorry, are you about to tell me something important? Should I be listening super hard? Are you going to grace me with an actual answer?" Sasuke rolled his eyes and sat back in his chair indolently. "Grow up, Sasuke. We have enough problems because of Kiba. We don't need to deal with your shit, too."

"Well," Sasuke said abruptly, standing up and pushing his chair up to the table before leveling his gaze on Shikamaru, "you won't have to deal much longer."

Shikamaru's eyes narrowed, then widened, his jaw going slack. Sasuke rolled his eyes again and, turning, walked towards his bedroom door.


"You're a smart kid, Shika," Sasuke said without turning his head, path undeterred. "You'll figure it out eventually." And with that he twisted the doorknob loudly and let himself into his room.

Naruto sat cross legged on Sasuke's bed, running his fingers idly over the thin, aged blanket. He'd barely seen Sasuke all day, and Kiba's departure had forced his hormones into a "oh-my-god-let's-bone-now" setting.

He just wanted Sasuke to help him through this time, but he had become reclusive within recent days. Naruto had originally chalked it up to grief over Kiba's absence; now Naruto wasn't so sure. The previous three days had been hard, but Naruto had finally retired the sweats and resumed everyday activities. But Sasuke was still distant, despite him being around Naruto nearly all of the time.

Naruto waited in his room, to ambush him. Sasuke's sour mood was doing nothing to improve his own, and if he had to persuade Sasuke into a good mood, he was more than willing to. He grinned as he heard footsteps approaching the door. That would be Sasuke.

A few moments later, the door opened and Sauske stepped in, closing the door behind him, leaning against it. When he saw Naruto, his eyes darted down, as if trying to figure his chances of escaping without being grabbed. He groaned internally when Naruto got to his feet and placed a tentative hand on Sasuke's tense shoulder.

Sasuke brushed it off, moving towards his bed and collapsing on it. Naruto followed him, seemingly not deterred. He ran a hand lightly down Sasuke's front, watching his guarded face carefully. Sasuke avoided his gaze, pointedly staring at the ceiling above instead of Naruto's expectant eyes. Naruto let his hand follow the slight trail of hair down from Sasuke's naval to his pants, pushing up Sasuke's shirt as he did. When they slipped below the elastic of Sasuke's boxers, Sasuke shoved the hand away, rolling on his side and mumbling for Naruto to leave him alone.

Naruto sat up, frowning, and crossed his arms and legs.

"What exactly is your problem?" he asked Sasuke's back, annoyed. "You've been like this for days."

Sasuke bit his lip, trying to figure out a way to tell Naruto tactfully, but Naruto wasn't giving him a chance to think.

Naruto poked Sasuke's shoulder with a toe. "Seriously, Sasuke."

"Seriously, Naruto. Just shut up for a while."

Naruto stared at Sasuke's rumpled hair quietly for a few moments, and for a second, Sasuke thought that Naruto was going to give him the proper time to decide what to say. He shouldn't have been so foolish.

The longer Naruto stewed over Sasuke's words, the angrier he became. He was dealing with one of the most painful separations of his life, yet his best friend was being self-involved, selfish and grouchy.

"What is with you?" he demanded.

Sasuke groaned and shoved his face into a pillow, his thoughts clogging in his mind, jumbling over each other. Naruto, I'm leaving seemed to have a tough time being put into sequence in his head. He told Naruto to leave him alone for just a second, but it came out muffled.

"What?" Naruto asked, poking him between the shoulder blades sharply.

The fragile sense of calm that Sasuke had been clinging to suddenly snapped. His body jerked into an upright position and he swiveled to face Naruto, his face burning, his mouth opening to finally spill the beans.

Naruto jumped at his reaction and was apparently offended by it. "What? What?!" he yelled. "Did I piss you off? Sorry! I guess I've just been a little down lately, and I just maybe hoped that my friend would be there to maybe offer a little comfort. But, I suppose that is a bit much to as from someone that I have had sex with!"

"Naruto--" Sauske warned, sitting up and squaring his shoulders to Naruto, his anger beginning to mount. But Naruto was on a roll.

"What? What is it that made Prince Sasuke upset? What could it be? Was it me? Were you mad that I haven't been accessible every goddamn moment the last few days? Well, I'm truly sorry, Sasuke, that my fucking friend just left and that I'm not having an Uchiha-patented robot reaction--"

Well, Sasuke had just about had enough of this. "I'm leaving, Naruto," he said as calmly as he could, his jaw clenched.

Naruto froze as if Sasuke had slapped him across the face. "What?" he asked lowly after a pause.

Sasuke let out a breath. "You heard me."

Naruto stammered, his face broken. "But…what? Since when? Why?"

Sasuke stared at the blanket. "Shizune told me three days ago."

Naruto stared at him, mouth a tight line. "What?"

"Do I fucking stutter?" Sasuke muttered, shooting Naruto an annoyed gaze. He had just been interrogated by Shikamaru, and he didn't need this right now. "She said that I was better and that they needed to clear more room for other patients."

"You've known for three days?" Sasuke nodded. "And you were planning on telling me…when?" Naruto demanded, his voice beginning to rise again.

"Uh, pardon me," Sasuke growled. " I was facing a bit of a dilemma."

"What the hell dilemma is there? You find out and you tell me, we figure out what to do. I fail to see the problem there!"

"Yeah," Sasuke spat. He wished that it wasn't going down this way, but when it rains, it pours, and his emotions were on a rampage. "Sorry for trying to look out for you. I thought starting the separation now instead of earlier would make it easier for us both."

Naruto dead-panned. "That might just be the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

Sasuke could feel his hands shaking. Feelings that had been repressed for days were boiling to the surface and he seemed powerless to rein them in. "Fuck you, Naruto."

Then Naruto was on him, throwing his body atop Sasuke's, forcing them to fall back on the bed. Naruto gripped Sasuke's hair painfully tight as he kissed him hard, their teeth mashing together as Sasuke bucked against him, trying to throw him off.

Sasuke's legs finally found purchase and he shoved Naruto away, shoving his tongue into Naruto's mouth as they toppled over. The fall jarred Naruto and his teeth snapped down accidentally on Sasuke's tongue. Sasuke hissed in pain and frustration and slammed his fist into the mattress beside Naruto's head. Blood pooled in their mouths, but all Sasuke knew was that he was harder than he had ever been and that he just wanted Naruto to understand.

Naruto moved to Sasuke's neck and bit hard while Sasuke's hands fumbled with and jerked down Naruto's pants. Sasuke spat into his palm and then grabbed Naruto's half hard dick, palming it firmly. Naruto moaned breathily, his hips jerking into Sasuke's hand of their own accord. He wanted to be mad at Sasuke; he wanted to hate him, if just for a while. But this was the closest Naruto had been to Sasuke in days, and damn if it didn't feel amazing.

Naruto's hands gripped hard and scratched at Sasuke's shoulders as Sasuke buried his face into the junction of Naruto's neck and shoulder and jerked him off with slow, long flicks of his wrist. Naruto was making angry noises into Sasuke's skin, wanting Sasuke to get the helloff, but knowing that if Sasuke stopped, he'd be infuriated. He didn't know what he wanted, but Sasuke was pushing all the right buttons and was teasing and rough and Naruto bit his lips so hard that he bled as he came, a strangled moan choking out of him.

He thought they were done then, that Sasuke would roll off and go jerk off alone, but Sasuke's forearm forced Naruto's body back onto the mattress and his fingers quickly pulled down his own boxers. Naruto shouted obscenities at Sasuke, telling him to stop, to get the fuck off of me! but his hands were on Sasuke's dick and pulling in steady strokes, and he could feel himself getting hard again. His head was spinning and he wasn't thinking straight, not even close, but what Sasuke was doing felt good (great), and he didn't have the strength to say no.

Sasuke came quickly in Naruto's hand, his head falling to his chest as he did, sharp breathes escaping his heaving chest. Sasuke stared down at Naruto, his face red with anger and exertion, to see what Naruto would do.

Naruto was looking up at him contemptuously, and it was odd to see Naruto's face in that shape; Sasuke wasn't used to seeing Naruto mad and noticed that seeing Naruto upset made him feel a little sick, and made a mental note to never do it again. That didn't erase their current situation, however, or the choice words Naruto had used on him. He felt his blood pressure rise a little. Naruto was hurt, but he was being a dick, and didn't he realize how hard this was on Sasuke? Did he even care? Sasuke bit his lip as Naruto palmed his own dick again, rubbing it slowly back to hardness and throwing their bottle of lube into Sasuke's lap.

Sasuke snorted under his breath and pushed Naruto back again, forcing him flat on the mattress. "Don't fucking move, asshole," he growled, his eyebrows furrowed as he squeezed the cool substance onto his fingers.

"Fuck you, Sasuke," Naruto hissed back, his head tossing back to the pillow when Sasuke pushed a hasty finger inside, squirming from the cold.

Sasuke got some grim satisfaction out of that and pushed his slippery index forwards and back, crooking it and snorting when Naruto bit his lip to stifle a started gasp of ecstasy. Sasuke removed his hand and rubbed his fingers together before inserting his middle finger to the first knuckle, alongside his first finger. Now his fingers met resistance, and Naruto's head jerked up to stare at Sasuke with a pained expression as Sasuke slowly worked the digits in, scissoring lightly and gently rocking them back and forth.

Naruto thudded his head back. Sasuke was refusing to meet his gaze--still pissed, but not willing to hurt Naruto. Naruto was actually a little surprised but really only a little grateful. Sasuke was treating him like glass. Naruto reached down between his legs and shoved Sasuke's palm, so his fingers slid quickly in, hissing in pain and clenching his eyes shut.

Sasuke muttered something that sounded like "Don't be fucking stupid" as he gently fucked Naruto on his two fingers, adding more lube when he could feel skin-to-skin contact. He was pissed, sure, but that didn't mean he wanted to hurt Naruto.

The added lube helped his fingers slip in and out, but Sasuke was still slow, stretching his fingers just a bit more time with each entry. Naruto was squirming under him, trying to hide his nerves and discomfort. Sasuke leaned down and gave a gentle suck on the head of Naruto's leaking cock and Naruto moaned throatily, his head shoving to the side and hips jutting out.

Sasuke bit his lip, shifting his body weight as he gently prodded with a third finger. He barely pushed it in past the tip when Naruto's body tensed so hard that Sasuke's fingers actually hurt.

"Naruto," he said lowly. "Naruto, you've got to relax."

Naruto forced an eye open and stared at Sasuke for a moment, before taking a deep, shaky breath. The sudden level of trust there made a snap of pain jolt through Sasuke's chest; Sasuke could feel much of the tension flow out of him, and he gently inserted his third finger, squeezing more lube on as he did.

"That's it," Sasuke said. Seeing Naruto scared had drained the fight out of him, and seeing the way that Naruto's hands were clutching desperately at his thighs, he figured that Naruto was in the same boat. His fingers worked slowly in, three an incredibly tight fit as he gently rocked them in and out. Naruto was breathing through his nose, forcing his eyes to be open as he watched Sasuke silently. The pain was receding quite a bit if he tried to ignore it.

Two minutes later, Sasuke was still trying to convince Naruto's body that this was a good idea; fighting beforehand and getting Naruto so goddamn tense was probably not the best plan. Naruto wasn't even hard anymore, and Sasuke was fighting to keep himself excited, and this was not the way he had pictured it going.

His fingers finally felt no resistance as they fucked Naruto, his body stretched so slowly and carefully that Naruto could probably take a dick much bigger than Sasuke's and not feel any discomfort. But now Naruto looked lost in deep thought, and Sasuke was fighting to keep nostalgic thoughts at bay. He pulled his fingers out slowly.

"Naruto…" he struggled, suddenly not wanting to look Naruto in the eye. "Naruto, do you even want to do this?"

That jerked Naruto back to reality. He stared at Sasuke for a long moment before he nodded. "Yeah, c'mon." He didn't have to say it: This is probably our last chance.

Naruto shifted his body so he sat up, and he looked Sasuke deep in the eye. Sasuke looked down and away until he felt a finger underneath his chin, lifting, and then Naruto was kissing him, a bit too hard and with a little too much teeth, but he wasn't in a position to complain as he groaned and moved his mouth against Naruto's. Naruto sat up and his hand reached out and grabbed the back of Sasuke's head, fingers threading through black hair as he pulled, his tongue stroking Sasuke's eagerly into his mouth.

Sasuke felt something rumble in his chest and he bit Naruto's lip hard, satisfied when Naruto hissed and gripped his hair painfully tight. Naruto pulled them apart, his hand rigid on Sasuke's skull as he held his face back and he gave Sasuke a calculating look, eyes dark, trying to decipher something unknown. Sasuke tolerated it for a moment but he growled and jerked his right hand out, jarring and loosening Naruto's grip on his hair. He surged forward, taking Naruto's face in his hands and kissing him fiercely, their teeth colliding and noses mashing together as his tongue forced its way past Naruto's parted lips, moaning when he felt Naruto's body arch against his, feeling Naruto's half hard dick pressing against his stomach.

He reached down and gripped Naruto tightly, fisting him with a few slow flicks of his wrist. Naruto was hard instantly, moaning shamelessly into Sasuke's shoulder as his body jerked against Sasuke's.

"C'mon, Sasuke, c'mon," Naruto groaned in his ear, licking and biting at Sasuke's pale shoulder, turning the white skin pink.

Sasuke shoved Naruto on his back roughly, his body following Naruto's as they fell, Sasuke's body covering Naruto's completely. Sasuke's hand jerked Naruto's length slowly when he felt a bottle jammed between his and Naruto's stomach: Naruto shoving the lube into his hands. Sasuke's nerves were on fire as he pushed back and dropped his hand, stroking himself a few times, and biting his lip to stay silent before he squeezed the remainder of the bottle onto his hand and worked it on his length.

He leaned forward and covered Naruto again, his breath fast, staring down at Naruto's flushed face as he lined himself up with Naruto.

As soon as he slowly pushed through Naruto's initial barrier of muscle, though, the atmosphere changed dramatically. Sasuke slid in with a practiced smoothness, allowing Naruto's body to drink him up until he was fully seated within Naruto, his eyes locked on the blue ones below him.

Naruto let out a few slow breaths, staring Sasuke evenly in the eye when his hands reached out and gripped Sasuke's hips. Sasuke barely had time to register what was happening before Naruto's hands pulled on his hips sharply, pulling Sasuke deeper inside of Naruto and Sasuke moaned in surprise.

"C'mon, Sasuke," Naruto said again, breathlessly. Sasuke nodded.

Things were suddenly slow, like their first time almost, except without the hormonal urgency. Now they tasted and touched, knowing that they might not get another chance. He let his tongue trace lazy circles down Naruto's tanned abdomen, reveling in the slight tremors of Naruto's muscles as he nibbled gently.

Sasuke noted with remorse how well his and Naruto's bodies fit atop each other's, like a glove fits a hand, with every groove and curve falling into place. Sasuke continued to gently thrust in and out of Naruto, forcing himself to look away from Naruto's face. Sasuke was well aware of how this mirrored their first time, and while the symbolism was a nice touch, it was bringing all sorts of bad thoughts to his mind. Naruto's eyes squeezed shut, and Sasuke thought he was going to cry.

"Sasuke," he breathed raggedly, his hips rolling slowly in time with Sasuke's.

"Don't, Naruto," Sasuke hissed, kissing him. "Please don't."

Naruto muffled a noise behind the back of his hand, forcing his eyes open to stare at Sasuke as they moved in tandem, rocking lazily against each other, neither in any rush, wanting to make this last. Sasuke bent over Naruto's body and kissed his barely-there Adams apple, licking it and biting a little, feeling the rapid heartbeat thumping beneath Naruto's chest. Naruto reached up with both arms and pulled Sasuke close to him, his arms wrapping around Sasuke's neck and his nose burying itself in dark locks.

He somehow felt that these last weeks and recent days of torture has all been leading up to this. The first time he'd met Naruto, the first time he'd felt Naruto's hair slide between his fingertips, the first time he'd kissed Naruto. The first time he was terrified for Naruto's life. It had all led up to this, this slow, unadulterated sliding of hips and bodies, this youthful and unchoreographed dance that only he and Naruto knew the steps to. Sasuke wished with all of this being that this wasn't the end of this--this frail unity with the one person in life who seemed to understand him, to truly love him--but within his own head, he knew. This was it. Their last intimate moments. His soon to be distant memories of Naruto's smell and feel and taste would be based entirely off of this encounter, and he tried to fight the coil of heat winding in his stomach. It couldn't be over, not so soon. He wasn't ready to leave, to be alone again, without this boy that he had grown to care for.

Sasuke realized with a sad pang that Naruto was crying, hot tears streaking down his whiskered cheeks as he stared up at Sasuke, his hand playing slowly with his own cock. Sasuke pressed his forehead to Naruto's so suddenly that it hurt, and his hands gripped the sides of Naruto's face as he bent over Naruto's loose body and began to fuck him with intent, his hips pistoning with no rhythm or control.

Naruto made soft, pathetic noises below him, and he could feel Naruto's hand between their stomachs, jerking hard on his cock, just wanting it to be over so that maybe the incredible pain in his chest would cease. Naruto kissed Sasuke, crying his name against Sasuke's lips desperately as he came, his body jerking roughly in Sasuke's embrace. Sasuke shoved his face into Naruto's shoulder, fighting his orgasm and tears dually, and he came as well, letting out a stifled moan into Naruto's skin, his fingernails gripping into Naruto's cheeks.

They sat in silence for a while, their breathing filling the empty air. Then Naruto pulled away, wiping his hands across his face messily and turning on his side to face away Sasuke without a word.

Sasuke stared at Naruto's shaking shoulders and followed suit, falling on the mattress and staring hard at the wall, the heat of Naruto's back against his feeling suddenly distant. He closed his eyes and tried to will himself to sleep, trying desperately to ignore the sounds of Naruto choking over muffled sobs.

His bit his lip hard in an effort to keep it from trembling as hot tears welled in his eyes and spilled slowly down his cheeks.

We're back! It was one of those deals where RL really just got in the way, and we kept putting it off and putting it off, but we finally got this one done. :) It's ungodly hour of the morning here, so I'll leave it at that. We appreciate the continued support and reviews from you guys, really.