Hey boys and girls. I put up 2 chapters just now. Go back and read the one before this first!!!
Three days later, and Sasuke was starting to get a little confused.
First of all, he'd been careful to be nothing but a gentleman to Naruto since the gender switchback. No funny business (no matter how tempting); nothing to make Naruto freak out or to start them fighting again.
Things should have been at least smooth, right?
Instead, Naruto was, if anything, even weirder than usual. Usually he did a pretty good impression of a bull in a china shop, but these days he was behaving more like a skittish calf. Just now, while Sasuke was watching television – they had finally moved Hikari's crib to her bedroom, which meant he could watch tv in the evenings again - Naruto had come over and sat right next to him; which Sasuke thought was a good sign – until he had reached for the remote, which had startled Naruto so badly that the boy had jumped up from his teeth, looked at Sasuke angrily, and then stormed out of the room.
Then, a few minutes later, he had come back: topless, this time, and slouched on the couch next to Sasuke again. Sasuke tried to keep his eyes carefully trained on the television set, but the temptation to glance at Naruto's chest was just to great. He glanced over, and caught Naruto's eyes on him.
Sasuke began to feel pissed off. Well, he knows how I feel, so if he prances around with no shirt on, can he really blame me for wanting to look? With that thought in mind, he caught Naruto's gaze, and looked challengingly back.
To his surprise Naruto blushed. And the blush caused Sasuke to catch his breath. If Naruto hadn't wanted him to look, then he would have been starting to get angry right about now. Instead, he was blushing… which meant that…
Naruto was doing it on purpose?
Sasuke couldn't help but smirk a little, feeling inwardly pleased. His mind was torn between being straightforward, or playing with the whiskered boy a little bit first. It was tempting to mess with Naruto, but, on the other hand, this seemed like a good chance to improve their relationship: and Sasuke didn't get many of those.
He had waited to long, gazing at Naruto as he considered his options. Naruto had caught his expression and was getting annoyed: probably more annoyed than usual, because he was embarrassed. He began to stand up again.
And stopped as Sasuke grabbed his wrist.
"Wait," the dark-haired boy said, huskily. "Hikari's asleep, right? This is a good opportunity, so…"
"A good opportunity to do what, jerk?" Naruto said, carelessly, trying to pull himself away from the Uchiha. That led to a strong, unexpected tug on his arm, that pulled him back down onto the couch, almost in Sasuke's lap.
Sasuke growled softly. "Don't play dumb."
Naruto turned red. "Yeah, what am I supposed to think, you jerk? I haven't done this before, and I kind of thought you would… mmph…"
His voice trailed off as Sasuke kissed him, beginning on his mouth but then shifting to Naruto's shoulder and neck. Naruto fought off the urge to say something stupid, to relieve the embarrassment he was feeling by starting a fight, or anything to get he and Sasuke onto more familiar ground.
He felt Sasuke's hand on his nipple, and responded with a squeak. Sasuke's hand toyed with the nipple, pushing it back and forth with a finger and then squeezing as he captured it between two digits. "Uh.." Naruto moaned, as the squeezing grew almost painful. "Sasuke…"
"You want this too, right?"
By way of an answer, Naruto ran his hand along Sasuke's chin, causing the raven to look up. Naruto kissed him suddenly, deeply, and was pleased when he was rewarded with a moan. Their tongues battled for dominance, before Sasuke, more experienced, began to take control of the kiss, and Naruto felt himself giving in spite of himself…
He woke in the very early morning to the sound of Hikari-chan's wailing. It was very quickly becoming instinct: Naruto could get up, sooth Hikari, feed Hikari, walk Hikari back to sleep and then return to bed himself, all without fully waking up himself.
When he realized that he was sleeping on the couch, however, and naked – though Sasuke had placed a blanket over him – he came to full consiousness with a start.
He was stiff– partially from sleeping awkwardly on the couch, perhaps, but –
His ass also hurt, though it wasn't intense. Rather, it seemed like a dull pain, already fading. The kyuubi was doing her thing, Naruto imagined.
There was dried semen on his stomach.
Naruto tried to scratch it off, and fumbled on the floor for his boxers as he headed down the hall to Hikari-chan's room.
They had finally done it as guys.
Naruto didn't know why, but somehow, having sex with Sasuke – as guys – somehow seemed really significant too him. Perhaps because, internally, he'd still been a little unsure how he felt about it. About whether he could love Sasuke as a guy.
But now… yeah. He was pretty sure it wasn't going to be a problem.
As expected, sex wasn't really the same as a girl as it was as a guy. As a girl, for instance, he wasn't sure he had ever had an orgasm. Not to say it hadn't felt nice – really nice, in fact – but there just hadn't been that mind blowing… that mind blowing… wow.
He picked up Hikari-chan carefully, and, swaying as he walked, carried her into the kitchen, where he found a package of the formula all ready to go in the refrigerator. Rummaging for a saucepan, he lit the stove and poured the liquid, then continued to rock the baby as he allowed it too warm. He wondered if he should feel a little bit pervy, thinking about sex as he rocked his daughter. Well – he looked down at her downy head, and kissed it softly…
Testing the milk with his little finger, he held Hikari against his shoulder as he carefully, one-handed, poured the milk from the saucepan into a bottle, and screwed the nipple on. Then he sat down, and, cradling her in his lap, allowed her to suck.
Her eyes followed his face as she drank. She really was so beautiful… though with her baby features, it was still hard to tell whose nose she had really inherited… and whose mouth…
Just don't turn out to be as messed up as either or your parents, Naruto thought. I don't want you to go through what I did, as a kid. Or what Sasuke did.
After having been together as guys, Naruto felt more comfortable about their future together. He had needed to know that Sasuke was someone he could continue to be with, for years and years, not just for Hikari-chan's sake… because he wanted her to have the example of two parents who were in love.
Of course he had always loved Sasuke. But love for a friend didn't always translate into romantic love.
Maybe he'd been… in fact… As Hikari finished drinking he stood up, and, putting a cloth over his shoulder, burped her quietly, then walked around the room, letting the rocking motion of his body lull her back to sleep… maybe he'd been a little afraid of romantic love.
If he thought about it clearly, he had never really believed – never believed seriously, that is, though he'd joked about it with Sakura-chan and others – that he would ever have a real relationship with anybody. He'd seen himself as someone who would be- though he hoped to be surrounded by friends - alone into perpetuity, partially because (maybe because of his childhood?) he still had a hard time believing that anyone could really, deeply care for him; and partially because… ah.
Something had come to him. Maybe that was why. Maybe it was because he'd been in love with Sasuke all along, but never believed a relationship between them could come true. Maybe he'd hidden the desire so deeply within himself that it had become unrecognizable to him, even when things finally did begin to work out between them.
He chuckled softly to himself. Then again, maybe that wasn't it at all. How could he know? All he was sure of was that he'd been lucky… very, very lucky, in fact, because how many people who turn up their nose at love have it find them anyway – how many people get hunted down and trapped into just the kind of relationship they want and need, even when they've been running from it all the while?
When he felt Hikari's breath, deep and even, and knew she was fast asleep again, Naruto returned her to her crib. Leaving her room, he paused. Where should he go? The bedroom where he kept his things – where he had been sleeping – was to the left. But Sasuke's bedroom was to the right, across the corridor.
Of course Sasuke was awake, when Naruto slipped into his bedroom. Ninja's were trained to wake at the slightest disturbance, so he never slept through Hikari's crying. Still he had let Naruto take care of her, because he had heard the blonde stirring and getting up before he had gotten out of bed.
He saw the outline of Naruto's body as he opened the door, just slightly, to slide into the room. The blonde walked silently across the floor and towards the far side of the bed. Sasuke barely breathed as Naruto lifted the blankets, and slipped into bed beside him. Naruto knew he was awake, of course, but there was no need to say anything…
The blonde rolled over. It was rather strange, Sasuke thought, to be next to someone, but to find it more peaceful than being alone. They both drifted off to sleep, and it was impossible to know who slept first.
The next morning Sakura met Naruto on the street. She had been doing some shopping, and he, it seemed, was on his way back from visiting Iruka, and moving a couple final pieces of clothing out of his teacher's home.
"Do you want to stop and get ramen?" He asked, eagerly.
Sakura felt her stomach protest, it was ten in the morning and she had just had breakfast. "Coffee?" She suggested instead.
Once they sat down, and Sakura had spent ten minutes doing the obligatory thing – not that she minded it – of holding Hikari-chan, admiring her, and offering her a bottle.
"I always forget," Naruto admitted, "But Sasuke always remembers to pack diapers, and a bottle, and whatever other stuff she might need when we have to take her out."
"Ah…" Sakura said. Then she started giggling.
"What is it?" Naruto asked.
"It's just… the image of Sasuke with a diaper bag…"
Naruto grinned. "Yeah, I think it's funny too. It's weird, though, but he totally doesn't get it. He put on the snuggli the other day…"
Sakura almost spit out her mouthful of coffee, the image was so funny
"And I told him he looked totally un-cool, and he just glared at me and said it was fine."
Sakura sighed, resting her chin in her hand. "Oh, Naruto. I think I heard about that. Moegi saw him walking around with the baby like that, and blood practically started pouring out of her nose. The only thing that's sexier than a brooding, sultry Uchiha – apparently – is a brooding, sultry Uchiha who's also proved himself to be good father material."
Naruto made an annoyed face – the same one he used to make as a kid when all the girls flocked around Sasuke and no one paid attention to him – a face that said, what is that about? Then he smiled.
"Hey, Sakura. Thanks."
"What for?" She asked, confused. If you knew how little you have to thank me for she thought, guiltily.
"Just… thanks for everything. I know you didn't really think Sasuke and I were the best idea, but… you really supported us anyway. So thank you."
Sakura felt her face turn red. "You know, Naruto… I didn't really…"
"No," Naruto said, cutting her off. "It's fine. I just hope we end as happy as you and Lee, ok?"
"Yeah…" Sakura said. It felt kind of funny… she had always been a little jealous of Naruto for ending up with Sasuke, and here he seemed to be admiring her own relationship with Lee.
Maybe she needed to appreciate Lee more.
"By the way," Sakura said, remembering their conversation of a few days before. "How did everything work out between you guys…?"
Naruto looked at her blankly, and Sakura cursed inwardly.
"I mean," she began again, delicately, "How did everything work out in the… uh… bedroom." She almost whispered the last word.
"Oh!" Naruto said, loudly, grinning. "Yeah, it was fine Sakura-chan! You were totally right!"
"I was right?"
"Yeah!" Then Naruto blushed. "You were right about the top/bottom thing too…"
"I knew it!" Sakura said. "Sorry, Naruto, but there was just no way…"
"Hey, don't be so sure… this was just the first time… once I get some more experience, I'm definitely going to pin that bastard…. And then…"
Sakura felt her ears growing red, as the visual images became a little more than she felt comfortable processing.
"Naruto," she finally said, gasping. "Too much information…"
A few weeks later, the annual Konoha festival was held. Though special jutsus had to be performed to hide the festival fireworks from the surrounding countryside- after all, Konoha was a secret village – no one would ever have considered having a festival without them.
Sakura found Lee on the hillside, far above the place where most of the other citizens had put down the blankets and were getting ready to watch the show.
Sakura smiled a little. Was there an alterior motive there? Was he trying to get some time with her alone?
"You know what, Lee?" She said, settling herself on the grass next to him and putting her head in his lap, "I finally understood what you meant before."
"When before?" Lee asked. He lifted his hand and began to stroke it over her head.
"When you said that you liked how we could just be comfortable with each other. Honestly… " Sakura paused. "I think I never got it before. I was always too much of a romantic little girl… you know? I thought I needed big fireworks," she gestured to where the villagers were preparing their show, "big complications, in order to have a major love story. But I just realized… it's fine to have drama when you're young, like us. But most of the time drama comes from personality conflict, and what happens when you get older and those conflicts still remain? Do you get what I'm saying?"
"I think so," Lee said. "You mean, you don't want to be forty years old, and with some guy where you fight and break up and make up every three weeks."
"Right," Sakura said. "I mean, how awful would that be? And also…" she snuggled closer to him. "It just sounds like exhausting." She stopped again, considering how much to tell him.
"I think that's why I was so hung up on Sasuke," she finally admitted. "I mean… no one could make me feel like crap the way he did, just by ignoring me or saying something rude. And nobody could make me feel better, either: I mean, when he smiled, or saved me, or anything. Everything with him was so intense. And I think I thought, wow, this must be love. Big drama, you know?"
"I don't think drama matters one way or the other," Lee said, reflectively. "A couple can love each other a lot and just be loud, or aggressive people. Like Sasuke and Naruto. Or they can have drama with no love. Or, there are people who get along fine, every day, but don't really love each other much at all."
"That's it." Sakura said. "That's it exactly. What I mean is, you measure love by love. It doesn't matter if yours is the same or different from anybody else's." She felt her ears growing red. I can't believe I just said something so corny, she thought. How embarrassing.
But Lee seemed rather taken with what she had said. "You know, Sakura-chan, that's it exactly! In the springtime of our youth, we are discovering so many wonderful truths together!" He clasped her hand and held it close to her heart.
Sakura felt herself blushing even harder. That was what she both loved and hated about Lee, she thought. He was just so earnest.
Well, maybe that was exactly what a girl like her – a little too preoccupied with saying and doing the cool thing, if she were honest with herself – maybe that's exactly what a girl like her needed. Someone who was just himself, even when it was corny.
And someone who let her just be herself, too.
Smiling and snuggling close to Lee's chest, she was reminded of yet another reason why she loved the boy so much… man, he was ripped.
"You have a nice chest, you know that?" She said playfully.
And he could be fun to tease.
Finally for the big confession.
"I wasn't really all that over Sasuke-kun, you know. When you and I started dating."
Lee quieted for a moment. "I knew," he said, eventually.
"I just… watched. I felt bad for you, at times. I figured… we would talk about it eventually."
Sakura sat up, and poked Lee in the ribs. "You mean, you thought you could make me forget about him!"
Lee smiled at her. He had started looking a lot better once she'd gotten him to start thinning his eyebrows.
"Ok, ok," she relented, finally. "You were right. Don't get cocky."
She leaned back into his embrace, and they sat together as the fireworks went on. Below them on the hill she could see the place where Sasuke and Naruto had spread out a blanket for Hikari – she could guess what was going on. Naruto was narrating the fireworks show for his daughter, loudly explaining every burst of color and what Konoha victory each explosion represented. And Sasuke was sitting back, not listening, maybe a little annoyed by the chatter or maybe just pretending to be annoyed.
Maybe in a year or two she and Lee would have a son or daughter to play with Hikari-chan. Maybe in a few years their kids would be going to the academy together. Even becoming chuunin. Getting married and having children of their own. It was hard to imagine, and yet it wasn't that far off.
Sasuke and Naruto-kun, Sakura thought, dreamily. Who'd have ever imagined that they would end up together.
Somewhere in the shadows, Itachi was lurking, perhaps waiting for his chance to return to power. When Naruto got back to full fighting strength, both he and Sasuke, devoted a quarter of their time to Tsunade's task-force, devoted towards tracking down Itachi, as well as any other Akatsuki members remaining. The two men never left on missions together- one always stayed in Konoha, to guard Hikari. It limited their mobility, but it was still one decision they had managed to come to without exchanging blows.
They still fought all the time, of course. The latest one had been a real blowout, in which the wall of the Uchiha compound had gotten damaged (not by Naruto, but by Sasuke, who had slammed his fist into it with a little too much force.)
Though there was no real hatred behind the fight, one could blame it perhaps on the tension of the past few weeks – Naruto had finally gone back to his first A-ranked mission since Hikari's birth.
Sasuke had found three whole weeks on his own with the six-month old a little tiring – but, if he were honest with himself, a bigger source of stress had been that Naruto was out hunting Itachi, while he was stuck at home. Though he had also been worried about Naruto; his annoyance about the Itachi situation might have made him a little nasty, taking it out on Naruto when the blonde returned home by implying that it was lucky that his brother had given him the slip, as Naruto probably wasn't strong enough to take him anyway.
"Oh, you think that?" Naruto had yelled – it was predicatably easy to get Naruto into a fight, "Well, I can still kick your ass, you know!"
Sasuke had made the situation worse by sniffing, and curtly responded by telling Naruto that he looked filthy, and ought to take a bath.
"Why… you…!!!" Angry words escalated very quickly into fists, and fists into full-fledged nin-jutsu. Fifteen minutes later, Sasuke found himself hiding in a tree, searching for Naruto's chakra signature, and planning how he was going to drive the blonde into a trap he had set up with a chakra-reinforced scroll.
Then, all at once, fifty clones were flying at him. Cursing, Sasuke threw a couple of kunai, which granted him enough time to use a replacement jutsu and hide in the bushes. Really, he did not need this, not when Hikari had kept him up all night before crying…
He wasn't going to put his hands up and admit defeat, though, because he absolutely hated losing to Naruto.
The clones again... Sasuke had developed a neat trick of identifying the real Naruto with his sharingan – quickly he cut through the fakes and made his way to the original. Let's beat him with taijutsu, he thought.
His fiancé – not husband just yet, though Sasuke was getting closer into pushing him down the aisle (Naruto's current stalling related to that fact that he said that he couldn't see the point in marriage, anyway) – his fiancé caught the look in his eye and dispersed his clones with a wave of his hand. Hand-to-hand combat was always so much more satisfying, anyway – and they began to go at it, kicks and punches and dives all at a speed that many jounin couldn't even see, let alone keep up with.
A quick swipe of Naruto's hand, that almost nicked the bridge of Sasuke's nose, caused the blonde to smirk.
"Careful, there," he taunted. "You wouldn't want to end up like your brother…"
Sasuke frowned. "That's way over the line…" He hissed.
"You're gonna get it now, you moron!" Sasuke said, as he put new energy into his fist – that was the punch that had lead to the hole in the wall. He had never brought up the subject of Naruto taking Itachi's eyes himself – even though it was a sore point with him – because it seemed like he didn't really have the right, after what had happened during Hikari's birth. It seemed unfair that Naruto would suddenly bring it up in the middle of a fight.
"If you had told me you had taken Itachi's eyes!" Sasuke spit back, "I might have had a better idea what was going on!"
"I couldn't, because I was afraid you'd go avenger-ballistic on me!" Naruto responded.
Sasuke felt his eyes bleeding red.
"See! See!" Naruto squawked. "Just like that!"
"You should've stayed out of my fight!"
"You should've let me help you!"
In the streets and lanes of Konoha, people turned their heads in the direction of the rumbling in the Uchiha district and sighed. Surely, those two were at it again. In the Hokage tower, Tsunade paused from her paperwork and wondered just how much they were going to destroy, and hoped that at least this time they would keep it to their own property.
Baby Hikari, held by Iruka, heard the noise and clapped her hands happily.
"And another thing!" Naruto yelled. "Just when are you going to let me do you, anyway!"
Sasuke stopped, and coughed, mid-attack. "What! You never said you had a problem with that, Dobe, so why…"
"What did you think was going on the other day, when I flipped you on your back!!!"
"I thought that was foreplay…"
"LIAR! You knew exactly what was going on, and you're just to damn selfish to… and another thing! Don't think I didn't hear about that talk you had with Tsunade! If you want another kid, you're gonna have it yourself, so don't think you can trick me into going back to girl form just for some stupid clan-revival plan!!!"
"I can't do it anyway, dobe, because I don't have the chakra. I don' t know why you're so upset about it… it's not like we were talking about now, anyway… more like in year or two…"
"A YEAR OR TWO???" Naruto screeched. "Let's get this straight, Asshole, I'm gonna be Hokage, not your goddamn baby-making machine! So you can just take that scroll Tsunade gave you and shove it your ass!"
… It was another beautiful day in Konoha.
Thank you again to everyone! Man I am glad to finally have finished this! To anyone who is interested: I did try my hand at writing a lemon this chapter (I never write real lemons, so I can't promise it's any good). But for those who are interested, it's on my livejournal account, same username. )