sorry and thankyou.

sorry for the unoriginal cheese and corn in this chapter.

- - - - -

"Sasuke, what's wrong?"

I sit somewhere between the gear-stick and the passenger seat, legs sprawled in the avenue of spaces inside Sasuke's modest car. But I don't feel the discomfort. I don't feel much of anything physical apart from the burning remnants on my lips, like ash left from a happy fire. My two, blood-drunk lips are the only grasp of physical life I have left. Everything else is non-existent. If I close my eyes, it'd be easy as hell to imagine that my lips were my sole being, that maybe I was just a floating form of two red, red lips, lost in the never-ending mass of the universe somewhere.

I guess that's what Sasuke's kiss does to me. Like some kind of superpower. And I marvel at it for a split moment before my conscience drags me back down to the actual reality of the situation.

And my heart begins to skip awfully rhythmic beats, and now I can feel that too. But nothing else. Just my heart and my lips lost in space.

"I..."

My eyes ricochet back to Sasuke's face.

I keep getting distracted. I'm too jumpy, too jittery, too fucking inappropriate for this atmosphere we've created together. I'm blowing it. I'm going to ruin this simplicity and taint it with my obnoxiousness because frankly, I'm a natural idiot.

"Naruto," Sasuke says, and my drifting eyes jolt back to see his face, all beautiful and ordinary, and his eyes, all black and confused, searching and switching; a mass of poetic adjectives all rolled into one, really. "I'm losing myself."

Sasuke's losing himself.

And I get it. I really get it. To someone else, that answer may have seemed pitiful, pathetic, a melodramatic, selfish cry for attention. But I get it, so fuck cares if you don't. Fuck cares.

Sasuke looks as if he's about to continue, but cuts himself off and looks back over the horizon of his steering wheel beyond the windscreen. His hand comes up to sweep his fingers back over and through his dark hair before he lets out a frustrated, almost defeated sigh.

I need to say something.

"Sasuke," I start with his name. "...I... I know what you mean." And then I worry over if that was the right thing to say. Does it make me seem arrogant? Or uncaring? Or cliché? Like I'm just saying it because I have nothing else to say? I open my mouth to say something more, something meaningful, but I can't think what and cut myself off, just like what Sasuke did moments ago. Here, in this bruised car, in the dead cold of night, we're grasping hopelessly for words that don't exist.

I think it's minutes before Sasuke turns to look at me again with a blank, unreadable expression on his face, and it almost hurts me to realize how empty he looks now. And then he opens his mouth and his voice comes out, "Do you?"

Do I?

He says it in a way that actually makes me falter in the confidence in the understanding I thought we had just minutes ago. So completely disbelieving. Do I have it all wrong? Is Sasuke feeling down because of something that I can absolutely not relate with?

But I thought we were just crying, right here, right in these cramped seats between these gear-sticks and glove boxes and gas pedals barely moments ago. Why is it then, that right now, all of a sudden, it feels like he's become so far away, too distant for me to reach and touch? We'd shared something, other than just a kiss, and in that crying, in that minute of utter understanding, it felt like he'd promised me he'd show me what's hiding under his skin, what's making him feel so upset.

He fucking promised me.

And I'm not going to let him go back on that.

"Yes, Sasuke," I say, somehow confidently, and I try to make my voice somehow force him to look at me because he's still staring away at the glass of his windscreen. "Yeah, I fucking get it."

He still doesn't look at me. I can feel him drifting away from this, avoiding telling me what's been wrong, I can feel it. And I don't want him to.

Yeah, we're best friends and all – closer than the strands of noodles in a dry packet of ramen – but honestly? It's usually me who's doing the gut-spilling. Sometimes, I feel utterly guilty because of it, but other times... I get pissed off and a little worried. I feel like I'm the only one who's really opening up in this friendship and I get a little paranoia from it all. You wouldn't believe how relieved I was when he came to me after Gaara, and at the time, I was fucking glad he was capable of having some kind of feeling as well as worrying for him.

So these rare, rare times when Sasuke is in need of something, of some comfort or anything, I need to grasp a hold of. I can't let him act like nothing happened tomorrow, and that feels like what's going to happen with the way he's acting now.

"Sasuke," I start again, hesitant and not so harsh this time. "There are times when I lose all sense of what I'm really doing here, and if what I am doing is really what I want to do. I think, there's nothing that is making me feel this way, making me want these things." I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. My thoughts and my words are meeting each other, mingling, bumping and grinding with each other at some party that I didn't know about.

"I can change my mind so easilywhen I realise this – just like that, I can change what I want... like... like I have no soul or... or I'm missing something in me. There's nothing really that makes me want to wear these jeans, or play guitar, or go out with Sai." He turns to look at me.

"There is nothing." I look at him. "Sometimes, I feel this way. Like I'm losing myself. And you of all people should know this Sasuke. Even though I've explained this so crappily, I know you know. All that stupid fretting over stereotypes and nonsense that I always annoy you with, all that rubbish is from this... this lack of my own opinion."

There is a small quiet in the car for a split moment.

"...So, what do we do?" Sasuke's voice is quiet and crackly, barely there.

"Apart from," my words continue as if he hasn't spoken because I'm not quick-witted enough to render my unconscious plan of a speech to adapt to his interruption. "Apart from, when I'm with you," and if this wasn't what it is, I would've smacked myself with how corny I'm becoming. "When I'm with you, Sasuke, I don't even need to think. I don't get the chance to think about it because for some reason, you make me not care. You make me feel okay with wanting the things I'm wanting right now, and I don't feel the need, or in fact, the want to change what I want," I grin a bit. "If I'm making any fucking sense."

Hold on a minute. When did I realise all this?! When did my mind register that Sasuke is the fucking solution to my issues? And why didn't it tell me sooner!

I feel my eyes twitch sub-consciously away from him to the dashboard and I blink dumbly at it for a moment. I don't even realise I've begun frowning and scratching my head before Sasuke lets out his single, touching chuckle at me and my hand freezes in my hair and my eyes once again jolt back to his face like an elastic band being snapped.

"You're too fucking cute," Sasuke says. And for some odd, odd reason, even though we always do this to kid each other, this joking and flirting, if you want to call it that... for some odd, odd reason, there's something that made his words feel... different, for lack of my vocabulary. More... sincere. And my hand falls slowly from my hair and my eyebrows fall apart as my eyes widen fractionally. It was like he said it to himself more than to me, and...and... it's making me think too much about it.

Before I can do anything, I see Sasuke's shoulders bounce once again as he breathes out another chuckle down onto his window. I watch it fog up on the glass; the shape of his laugh. He's not facing me again.

"You're too fucking good of a friend," he continues. "You know too much. You're not supposed to know so much."

My face hurts, and I realise it's because I'm smiling so hard. There's a full four minutes of just silence and me smiling in his car and I know Sasuke isn't going to say any much more about losing himself. But what he's said is enough for me. In a way, it's like I've won this round, like I've showed him that I do understand how he feels no matter what he thinks.

And though maybe we don't understand everything right now, though we're probably still losing ourselves, there's something reassuring, something so thoroughly relieving in the fact that we understand each other.

I'm sorry if I make zero sense, but I can just feel it. I can just feel it, and I bet Sasuke can too.

Sasuke still sits staring at his window and it begins to annoy me a little. I can't tell if he's as happy for the moment as I am, but I can tell that he's severely less down than he was before, and I take pride in knowing that I had a part in that. I try to re-lighten the atmosphere in here, try to cheer him up a little bit so we can figure things out together more tomorrow.

"Sasuke..."

His head turns back to look at me, and I see that he isn't smiling much at all. But I guess I shouldn't have expected much of one.

"I think you bruised my face."

His eyebrow twitches up, a silent question, and I'm glad to see him show some expression.

"By making me smile so bloody hard," I complete with a small chuckle that makes my cheeks stretch even more, and I think maybe he really has bruised my face.

Sasuke finally breaks out a tiny smile and shakes his head, fingers going through his hair tiredly once more. I'm just able to hear him breathe out, "Idiot," before my bones are crushed comfortably and Sasuke's lean body is leaning over the gear-stick and his arms are wrapped around my shoulders somehow awkwardly, but fitting strangely neatly. My back is pressed into the passenger door and his face is pressed into my neck in a way that makes this feel like... like some kind of submission from him. Like maybe, he's saying, "I give up. Maybe I will spill my guts on you from now on."

And right now, I feel exactly like how I told him he makes me feel. Like I don't give a damn what everyone else thinks about anything I do... I feel less like I'm losing myself, and more like I'm living myself.

And I love it.

I love this carefree... carefree...

"...Sasuke, what's the... the, er, noun for being carefree?"

I feel his lips move on my neck. "...Carefree...ness? No... How about carefreedom?"

"Yeah, okay," I say. "I love this carefreedom you bring me, Sasuke."

He smiles, and I know this because I can feel his lips stretch on my neck, and I know, he understands what I'm talking about... and all over again, I'm bowled completely over by how much we really understand each other.

We're still hugging when I look at the luminous digital time and it's three in the morning. Once my mind realises what time it is, I feel my body begin to lag and my blood flow slower in my veins. I'm tired. Tired as hell. And I don't feel like moving an inch.

Maybe we'll find the answer to our so-called problems after sunrise, maybe it will come to us next month. I don't know. I don't know if we'll ever find ourselves solidly, or at least, myself. I don't know. I don't know how Sasuke, someone who I admired as being to true to himself, so confident in his personality, I don't know how he started losing himself. I don't know a lot of things.

Right now though...

I know I'm okay.

I know I'm okay with Sasuke here, and with our understanding, and if nothing changes, I'll always be okay.

My eyelids droop heavily, my body feels hotter, welcoming me into dreamland and right before my eyes shut on me, I catch the time; three minutes past three.

It's black for a moment.

And then, with my arms wrapped around my most important person and his arms wrapped around my bones, I...

fall.

asleep.

- - - - -

is it that obvious that i don't believe in this anymore?