Prompt: 30 kisses - # 22 - Cradle

Interpretation: Cradle of your Embrace

Warnings: some vague spoilers. Or not really. Haha. Mentions of mild violence. Another "post time skip" fic. Angst?

No matter what those girly novels that Iruka-sensei and Sakura-chan kept on gushing about, the world he's leaving in is nothing remotely safe.

He remembered scoffing at Iruka-sensei's books, whenever his blue, inquisitive and always-curious eyes would catch the glimmer of the words "and he held me and I've felt safe" and all those related words.

Naruto knew that those words were created by people who obviously didn't leave by fighting and for protecting things that were important to them--and shouldn't Sakura-chan and Iruka-sensei know that as well?

He remembered that one time, when he told the kind, brown-eyed teacher about what he thinks about those cheesy phrases. The older man simply smiled at him, the kind of smile that held some great knowledge, and patted him fondly on top of his head.

"One day, you'll understand, Naruto, that everyone is entitled to feel safe and protected."

He simply shrugged his shoulders then, and threw the older male a disbelieving stare and an innocent grin.

Right now, on this battlefield, with Sasuke looking at him with deep, blood-stained eyes and clutching one injured shoulder close, and himself sustaining some--if not worse--injuries, he briefly wondered again if Iruka's words would ever prove to be right.

The two of them were obviously spent: with their available chakra dwindling. Such thing shouldn't be a problem to him, if Kyuubi was cooperative. But the demon fox only snickered maliciously and told him that he wouldn't be needing the boost of chakra from the Nine Tails.

He regarded his rival warily, his own knees buckling without his consent, sending his form crashing to the softened land. Blue eyes didn't leave the other's face though, because he really couldn't tell if Sasuke panting and acting injured was just an act for him to drop his guard.

He couldn't be too sure--because Sasuke was always a sneaky bastard.

But then, the Uchiha has always been faster than him, always one step ahead, and the next thing his eyes registered was the sight of Sasuke standing in front of him, kneeling on the ground, their eyes meeting head-on in a fierce staring competition.

After about five minutes of mindless staring at the pools of obsidian that Sakura-chan (and the rest of the Konoha's female population) kept on gushing about, Naruto belatedly realized that Sasuke must be really out of chakra--for him to stop flaunting his mature Sharingan at him.

"I'm going to take you back," Naruto promised, his words feeling hollow and painful against his parched throat, against his chapped lips, and he expected some snide and scathing reply. No words that denied him came, and blue eyes blinked dumbly at his best friend's stony expression.

"I said I'm going to take you back," Naruto insisted, a bit miffed that Sasuke's now ignoring him.

"I heard you the first time, dobe," The Uchiha snapped back, eyes narrowing and lips looking full and inviting as he said the much-hated and much-missed nickname.

And Naruto remembered Iruka-sensei's words--"One day, you'll understand, Naruto, that everyone is entitled to feel safe and protected."--and he almost laughed, almost choked, almost cried right there, but of course, Sasuke stopped him.

Sasuke stopped whatever onslaught of emotions that appeared in his cerulean-hued eyes, by placing injured arms around the blond's smaller frame.

It was an awkward embrace, because the blood was dripping on their wounds, the torn parts of Sasuke's outfit showed scars from immense training, their bones were broken and twisted on some odd angles, the dirt and dust clung to them like second skin.

But it was all right, it was all Naruto could ever ask for, because it meant much more than Sasuke's meaningful silences and clipped, enigmatic words.

And Sasuke's lips tasted like dried metal, warm blood and cool danger, and they felt like burning poison that threatened to drown Naruto completely, the searing heat and arctic coldness wanted to destroy Naruto's seeking mouth, but it was okay, since now, they're bound by this embrace, no matter how painful, and Naruto knew that Sasuke would be back, and--

"One day, you'll understand, Naruto, that everyone is entitled to feel safe and protected."

It was ironic, because he felt safe, not at the cheesy walks under the pale moonlight, not at the idle chats at the parks but here--at the most imperfect embrace with his most important person.

Nothing else matters as long as you're with me...


Reviews, comments are appreciated :D