For new people, as indicated in the summary, this is the continuation to the story "Sound and Leaf," so I would advice you to read that one first.
For the rest of you, hello again, here is the complete chapter. I hope you will like it.
English still isn't my mother tongue so forgive my mistakes.
As always, a very big thanks to my awesome Beta!
A special thanks to Simple-minded-idiot who made me write this chapter faster.
Chapter 1: Mission
I will never say it enough, but thanks to my Beta.
Ibara, Ryû and Silk are mine, please do not use!
Thanks too for the people who actually took the time to help me by reviewing.
A tug awoke Naruto. Grunting, he turned on his belly, sleep taking him over once again. Later a chill settled over him, he felt cold. Grinning lazily he groped around for Sasuke. Feeling nothing he stood up abruptly. Had it all been a dream? No. This was Sasuke's bed. But why wasn't he here? It was so early in the morning. The bed was cold where Sasuke's body should have laid. He had left. Startled Naruto dragged himself out of the bed, heart thundering, and his insides clenched with dread.
First he checked for a note. None.
He checked the kitchen. Empty.
Itachi's room. Empty.
The house was deathly silent, not even a murmur could be heard.
He went back to the abandoned bedroom and dropped himself on the bed, closing his eyes. Was Sasuke regretting what happened? Had it been too fast? Maybe Sasuke couldn't stand to have given himself to him. Maybe he was taking it as a sort of defeat? Maybe… maybe he had just destroyed everything.
Fuck. Why did the bastard have to leave? It felt so horrible, like a slap, like an unspoken reproach that made it so much stronger. He could have stood getting yelled at, a beating, but not this emptiness, as if Sasuke couldn't even face it.
Anger and deception began to build inside of Naruto; clenching his fists he tried not to feel too hurt. He wanted to destroy something to relieve his anger and all his pent up emotions. Should he have expected it?
"You moron! You bloody marked me!" came an angry yell from the bathroom.
Sasuke came barging in, entirely dressed and pointing furiously at the part of his chest not covered by his dark yukata where hickeys were perfectly visible.
Naruto blinked. What? But no sound had come from the bathroom! He didn't even think about checking it. Why did the bastard had to be so bloody quiet? He had just given him such a scare!
Feeling his body and noticing more of them, Sasuke's temper only seemed to rise. "Even on my neck!" he roared, glaring daggers at Naruto.
The latter felt so utterly relieved to see him, to have his Sasuke back that he couldn't help but laugh. Sasuke wasn't even angry. Well he was, but not because of what Naruto had thought. Grinning he sprawled on the bed, content with life. He caught just in time the kunai thrown at him. Still chuckling he tried to coax Sasuke into his arms but all he accomplished was getting his hands slapped.
"You're making breakfast! And not ramen!"
"What? But it's still so early!" whined Naruto eyeing the bed with envy. He wouldn't tell Sasuke how worried he had been.
"Don't even think about it," growled Sasuke still trying to cover all his hickeys.
"Maybe you could lace the front of your yukata or how about one of your dark shirts?"
Sasuke watched him suspiciously for a moment and walked toward his cupboard, full of dark shirts that would do perfectly. Naruto pounced tenderly on him and hugged him from behind, nibbling at his ear. He closed his eyes, Sasuke wasn't pulling away and Naruto was too happy to help himself.
"You have to admit they're beautiful hickeys, worthy of a Hokage! Oy!" whimpered Naruto as he was viciously elbowed.
He loved Sasuke's scent, really. It was particularly strong just at the base of his neck, where he pulled his hair back in a ponytail. Naruto brusquely pushed away and stared. There was no ponytail! Sasuke had cut his hair to his old hairstyle!
Sasuke was looking at him with a raised eyebrow. Naruto slowly glided a hand on the soft hair, spiky at the ends now that it was shorter. The dark man gave an exasperated groan but said nothing, letting Naruto bury his nose in his hair.
The Uchiha made his head spin; his scent, his personality so proud, his strong body breathtaking and delicate, danger and beauty coupled in one body. All of it was his only, because no one would ever see the proud man in such intimacy, no one would hear him. Naruto purred, his tongue flicking to taste his lover. Sasuke was so… edible.
"Hey! Don't make another one!" yelped Sasuke, breaking the embrace and clapping his hand on his neck.
Grinning Naruto strolled to the kitchen, once safely out of reach he called back, "by the way, Sasuke, you will need a turtleneck!"
"You bloody moron!"
"Silk-chan, please, talk to him. It's important for the team."
Silk clutched her katana and shook her head stubbornly.
"I'm always listening to him during missions, the team is perfectly fine," she muttered.
Ibara groaned and pushed his beret further down his head. Silk wasn't talking to Ryû and it was bad for the team spirit. No, that couldn't continue but Silk stood her ground and Ryû being his usual bratty self, refused to apologise and kept bragging all the time. Why was he the only one thinking about the team?
The cause of all his worries strolled toward them, waving to them with a broad smile as if the world was his. Ibara sighed.
"Silk! Ibara! Good morning! Isn't the sun beautiful today? It's making everything sparkle! Look even my body is sparkling!" he boasted, turning to let them see how the sun caught in his blond hair and shined in his golden eyes.
"What a show-offy ass," murmured Silk.
At that moment Naruto appeared, along with Sasuke, who kept pulling up his dark turtleneck sweater and had a deep frown. Their sensei kept giggling madly, leaning on his team-mate to walk.
"Your team's here," informed Sasuke, letting his cold gaze wander on them.
He was by far less scary during the day, and with his sword safely tied to his back. Yet a feeling of utter strength and danger emanated from him. He gave the impression that he could lash at someone in the blink of an eye, which wasn't far from the true.
Ryû was gaping openly, eyeing Sasuke with awe and then Naruto as if he didn't believe it.
"You're really his friend? Whoa! Is Sasuke-sama coming with us? Is he?" asked Ryû in a frenzy. He looked as he if he was about to tug at Naruto-sensei's sleeve like a five year old.
"No. Two Anbu aren't required for such a pitiful mission," admonished Sasuke already walking away.
Ryû actually looked ashamed of his blunder and cast his eyes down. Naruto caught Sasuke's wrist before he could leap on a tree. "Be careful," and without another thought he kissed him. Silk dropped her katana and yelped, kneeling to check if it had been damaged. Ryû's mouth hung open while he pointed at a scowling Sasuke and a grinning Naruto. Ibara shook his head.
"Thought so… wonder who's on the bottom…"
"But… but… but!" whined Ryû, still pointing at the now empty place.
"Well it's very common for ninja to be involved, you know," shrugged Ibara setting off after Naruto, already far ahead with Silk trotting behind him.
"Come on, Ryû. I know you're heartbroken but he's mine!" teased Naruto.
"You're so naïve sometimes, Ryû," pointed out Ibara.
"As long as they're happy," piped up Silk, gripping her katana lovingly.
Ryû pouted. Why weren't the others on his side? Sasuke-sama couldn't be with someone! And why did Silk keep holding that stupid sword? And he was sure that she was thinking of that dumbass Kakashi. Life was so unfair! He was such a sweet and gentle boy, why was everything against him?
Their mission was to obtain a scroll from a politician. To do so they were to escort a caravan and protect it from bandits and ninjas, as a cover. It was a known fact that some Rain ninjas had been hired to steal the merchandise. The mission was going smoothly so far, they had already resisted one attack. Ryû had concocted a very good plan to stay safely with the caravan's chief (as a last resort, of course) while Ibara lured the attackers to the traps that Silk had set on the spots Ryû suggested. Naruto-sensei just watched the show, giving some tips to his students, meaning Silk and Ibara since Ryû was only watching his plan unroll while sipping a nice cup of tea.
But that was until they set camp a night later and were attacked by a group of Chuunin. This time they hadn't had time to set traps. Naruto was dealing with most of the attackers letting his students take on one each. A clone was watching over them, just in case.
"We should split up," advised Ibara as their assailants closed in on them.
"What? Are you mad? W… what if you or Silk were attacked? We have to stick together!"
Silk and Ibara exchanged a look, both knowing Ryû was the one who feared being attacked by surprise.
"Ok, Ibara use your blood to distract and confuse them. Silk, you sneak behind them. I…I'll stay here to watch your backs."
As he ordered them around he made two clones and set them on the assailants. Ibara followed, words of blood dancing in the air as the mortal rain dropped on his enemies. Silk crawled, katana tied to her back, shurikens and kunais ready.
But Ibara's rain didn't have the wanted effect, they were protected against it! They must have been present during the first fight. Silk, unaware of this unexpected turn, was taken between two fires. She had thrown shurikens at the two men coming at Ibara but the third had been waiting for her, diverting her weapons and slashing at her with his sword.
"Silk! Behind you!" screamed Ryû, lodging a kunai right at the man's leg.
That gave her enough time to dodge and fall on the muddy ground. Ibara knocked out one of his enemies but he still had one to deal with.
"Use your bloody katana!" ordered Ryû covering Ibara with some shuriken.
"N…no!" stuttered Silk eyes widening as the sword fell on her. Ryû threw a kunai that merely ricocheted on the man's sword. Silk raised her arms in a vain effort to protect herself. Ibara distracted by his worry didn't see his attackers coming closer and readying for the coming blow. Ryû stood frozen on the spot, closing his eyes, sure that his two friends were going to die.
Naruto tied the four men that had attacked him and turned toward his team. They seemed to be dealing with the situation pretty well, even Ryû was fighting. Reassured he dispelled his clone and wondered if he should give them a hand.
That was when the situation changed, both Ibara and Silk were in danger, but Ryû seemed ready to help. Horrified Naruto watched as Ryû only threw weapons but didn't actually come to his team mates' aid. Holy shit!
Running as fast as he could he tried to make it in time to save Silk, who was sitting on the ground, her arms raised as a scream escaped her mouth. At the same time Ibara turned his head to see and missed the blow aimed at his shoulder. Shit!
Ryû opened one eye to see if everyone was lying dead on the ground but was met with the sight of black silk, a red crest with a fan embroidered on it. He blinked. Ibara had fallen on his bottom, unscratched, and looked rather green as his attacker's blood drenched him, the latter lying unconscious at his feet.
His saviour had grabbed Silk around the waist and his sword was right under her attacker's throat, chidori blazing. The man had a look of utter bewilderment as blood swept from his mouth. Holding Silk tightly against him, Sasuke withdrew his sword and the man collapsed on the floor, relieving Naruto who had struck him from behind, making him faint. Realising his hold on Silk, Sasuke let his eyes turn back to dark and locked them on the shaking Ryû.
"Who gave you such a useless wimp?" he growled, speaking to Naruto.
A whimper escaped Ryû as tears ran down his cheek and he doubled over to throw up.
"Disgusting," snorted Sasuke, eyes as cold and cutting as ice. Ryû only sobbed harder and tried to wipe his lips, head low, still trembling.
"Don't be so harsh, he did his best," mumbled Naruto, checking on a thunderstruck Ibara.
Sasuke wiped his sword clean, crouched to nudge at the man, uncovering his forehead-protector. "Rain"
"Sasuke-sama!" shouted Silk.
Sasuke turned just in time to see Silk shelter him with her body as the ninja Ibara had knocked out earlier, aimed a kunai at him. Silk closed her eyes and bend over.
Time froze as the kunai reached Silk but simply passed through her as if she wasn't there. Sasuke snatched the kunai before it hit him and dashed toward the man. Naruto threw a kunai in front of him. Sasuke caught it with the tip of his sword and lashed it at the man. The latter dodged and began to form a seal. He hit the ground making it explode. Sasuke had already jumped and landed softly at his side, his hand hitting him neatly on the nape. He collapsed on the ground.
Naruto had reached Silk's side, putting a hand on her shoulder. Sasuke stared, puzzled, at her.
"What?" asked a rather stunned Silk, touching her stomach where the kunai had traversed her, but she wasn't wounded. Then reality hit her, "Sasuke-sama!" she yelped turning on her heel to see him standing next to her, safe.
Blinking she dropped on the floor and began to cry. "I'm… I'm not even… a-able to protect… myself… and… and… it w-went… thr-through me… i-it… could have… hit y-you! How… how can I… I protect… a lov-loved one… if it's… going… through m-me?"
Sasuke crooked an eyebrow at her. Naruto patted her awkwardly, "you've just discovered your power, Silk. Don't worry. You will be able to control it."
That only seemed to increase her sobbing. "I wanted… to protect him! But… I was… scared… and I thought… of saving my…own sk-skin… I'm s-such… a coward!"
"It's an instinctive reaction. It's normal. The important thing is that you tried to protect me. You're not a coward. Ryû is," replied Sasuke matter-of-factly.
Sasuke had spared his opponent and thanks to him Ibara was whole. Naruto had been afraid Orochimaru had changed Sasuke, but he didn't. Sasuke still had respect for lives. Even killing Itachi hadn't changed that. Maybe because Sasuke knew the value of life, he had lost too many loved ones to kill blindly.
Naruto wished the mission had gone more smoothly. Ibara was still shocked. Silk kept sobbing. Ryû was the worst, he was crying and totally shell-shocked. After putting Silk to bed in the women's tent and checking that Ibara and Ryû were both safely in theirs, Naruto went to his and Sasuke's tent.
"It's a disaster," he sighed, laying next to his lover.
"They will get over it."
"Thank you for saving them. Ibara would have been hurt without you even if I had gotten to Silk on time. By the way, not that I'm complaining or anything, but what are you doing here?"
"I finished my mission sooner than expected… since you're such a moron I came to check on you."
Naruto gave a predatory grin at Sasuke's back as he began to sneak behind him, like a feline ready to strike at his unsuspecting prey.
"You were worried? How cute of you, Sasuke!" he teased jumping on him and catching his lips in a heated kiss.
Sasuke wrapped an arm around him and opened his mouth, enjoying the feeling of Naruto's weight on him. But as Naruto's hands began to wander he broke the kiss, grasping at the hand aiming for a rather private area.
"The kids are in the next tent," he reminded.
"Ohhh don't be so motherly, Sasuke."
"I'm not! You little… hey!" protested Sasuke as Naruto wrenched open his yukata, yanking it to his belt. Naruto didn't seem to be listening as he kissed his nipple, making Sasuke squirm.
"If you give me a hickey, you're a dead man," warned Sasuke, tugging at Naruto's hair to pull him away.
Chuckling Naruto groped him making Sasuke bit his lips to stop a gasp from escaping. "For God's sake, Naruto."
Ibara looked at Naruto-sensei's retreating back and sighed. He had never thought facing a near death experience would affect him this much. He hadn't even seen someone die and he was totally shocked. Damn! He thought he was stronger than that! In reality he was just a wimp! Angry he turned on his side, looking at Ryû's back. The later was huddled up, shivering slightly. At least Ryû accepted it. Ryû had always known he was a wimp, even if he showed off a lot, he knew it, he faced it. Ibara didn't even know!
Closing his eyes Ibara tried to shut off his mind. He needed sleep. Tomorrow he would be stronger for sure. He didn't have to worry Sasuke-sama and Naruto-sensei were next to them, nothing could happen.
"Come on Sasuke, be nice for once," whined Naruto, trying to reach Sasuke's belt knot.
Smirking Sasuke kept his hold on Naruto, "Not here, not now, dobe."
"That's not fair. As soon as I get you in my bed we're both send on missions! I couldn't even take advantage of it! It's been too long since I've last seen you! Please?"
Seeing how he couldn't reach the belt, Naruto began to rub Sasuke's crotch with his knee, making the dark man writhe and bit his lips, eyes going even darker. "See? You want it too," he teased, blowing in Sasuke's ear, licking the ear-shell, his fingers brushing Sasuke's still restraining him.
"Of course I do," answered Sasuke kissing him and reversing their position. Grinning Naruto stopped trying to coax Sasuke, but his grin turned into a pout as Sasuke pinned him down, putting his yukata back on. "But not with kids nearby."
"Well you just have to keep quiet then," taunted Naruto.
Sasuke gave him a peck, smirking playfully, "I thought you wanted to hear me…"
Naruto huffed and sulked, earning a low laugh from his lover. "Don't be childish, if you're good I will let you snuggle, deal?"
Naruto stared at Sasuke, speechless. Hug him? Of course! Grinning broadly he stopped all advances and caught Sasuke, wrapping his arms around his chest and untangling their legs, letting Sasuke rest his back against his chest. With a content sigh he nuzzled his nose in Sasuke's hair. This was perfect.
"Can't believe you're so nice," he pointed out, humming a little.
"Well I forgot my blanket…"
Ryû couldn't sleep. Sasuke's words kept ringing in his head. They sounded so familiar. He could hear the reproaches and see his father's disappointment and disgust. It hurt that Sasuke-sama also felt that way. Yet he was glad that he was next to them, they were safe. Geez, he had saved them today. His idol was a lot less scary when he was on their side. Seeing how dark it was, the night was well begun. His mind was nagging at him, he had to talk to someone about this. It was eating him alive.
"Ibara?" silence "Ibara?" asked Ryû a little louder. Silence.
Ryû frowned, "Ibara? Are you sleeping?" he enquired once again, kicking Ibara's sleeping bag. Hard.
"Was sleeping," muttered his friend, turning to face him, scowling. "What do you want?"
Ryû chewed his lips a little then shook his head, "nothing."
Ibara had to use all his self control not to throttle Ryû right there. Grumping he tried to go back to sleep. He was slowly drifting off when…
"Ibara?" asked Ryû giving another kick. Ibara bolted upright "What?"
Ryû fidgeted a little then turned on his side, "nothing, nothing. I will try to sleep, by the way don't shout that loud you could wake up the others."
Ibara squeezed his hand and began his usual mantra, "you're not supposed to kill you team mates, you're not supposed to kill you team mates, you're not supposed to kill you team mates." With a desperate groan he nudged Ryû, "Go on, I'm listening."
"What the hell are they doing?" muttered Sasuke, awoken by the sounds.
"I don't know. I think Ryû kicked Ibara… at least twice."
Sasuke rolled his eyes and grabbed Naruto's arm, draping it tighter around him as he went back to sleep.
"I think I will steal all your blankets," chuckled Naruto before wincing when he was elbowed.
"So?" inquired Ibara getting impatient.
Ryû seemed reluctant yet eager to talk about what was troubling him. He knew he could trust Ibara but it was a rather personal matter.
"It's nothing… really."
"You woke me up, it must be important," Ibara was getting worried. What was it all about? Was Ryû going to talk about his fears? Was that why he was so unwilling?
"Come on, spit it out."
As Ibara and Ryû kept whispering, Sasuke's scowl was getting deeper.
"Won't they shut the hell up?" he snapped.
"Ryû seems worried, that's strange," answered Naruto.
A moment of silence passed before a "you sure?" was murmured. Sasuke groaned "Do I have to make them shut up?"
But Naruto clapped a hand on his mouth, leaning on him to get nearer of the child's tent. "Shhhh! I'm listening!"
"I…I love Silk…" whispered Ryû.
Naruto's eyes widened and he stared at Sasuke who had his eyebrows raised high.
"He's got to be kidding, I mean, he's a total moron," commented Sasuke.
Naruto only crept nearer, holding his breath to hear everything.
Ibara's mouth dropped a little. That wasn't what he had been expecting. Suddenly he was looking horribly serious.
"I… have to tell you something…"
"Hey, you think he loves her too?" wondered Naruto.
"I don't think so… but why not?" stated Sasuke, concentrating on the noises.
Ryû's heart stopped. Oh no. Was Ibara also in love with her? Well she was such a nice and pretty girl. Shit. He had counted on Ibara to help him but now he would have to fight him. Damn all his plans were dead now!
"Yes?" he asked, not letting show how much he dreaded the answer.
"It's totally hopeless. She will never love you…"
Ryû groaned. Ibara had scared him! Couldn't he be serious for once? Ryû was getting tired of always being the one to think and plan everything. Really he was doing the entire job! Now that he needed some help, which was so very rare, Ibara couldn't seem to concentrate. As if Silk could resist him! Really…
"Ibara's right. He's quite intelligent too, you know," pointed out Naruto.
"You don't have to be clever to see that Ryû is stupid," retorted Sasuke.
Naruto chuckled, nudging Sasuke.
"I'm still wondering how he managed to pass the exam. Well even you succeeded, so," mentioned Sasuke. He dodged Naruto's fist just in time.
"Be serious! I love her. I know she's dying to yell her love for me, but I don't want to rush things."
Ibara rolled his eyes. "I think she's in love with Kakashi-sensei you know."
"Is that true?" asked Sasuke, bewildered.
"Yeah, she's totally into him."
"At least he's better than Ryû."
"She will forget about that dumbass soon! How could she resist me?"
"Yeah… but why telling me then?" wondered Ibara.
"I want to seduce her properly and since you're the gentleman kind, I want you to help me by giving me some tips you see."
"Now that that's settled, good night" was all that Ryû answered, patting Ibara on the shoulder, giving him a smile of complicity.
Ibara mentally sighed. What had he been dragged into this time? Poor him and poor Silk. Great, now he was going to have nightmares, such a horrible vision. Maybe Ryu had said that just to make him have a sleepless night, right?
"Ryû's worse than you said," remarked Sasuke, rolling on his back, the conversation seemed over.
"I can't believe he's going to try and seduce her. I mean she's still mortally angry at him for the blunder with Kakashi," stated Naruto as he turned on his stomach, dropping an arm on Sasuke and using his chest as a pillow, their legs untangling once again.
"I'm almost feeling sorry for Ibara," smirked Sasuke.
"I feel sorry for him. He just can't escape Ryû but he must be struggling with himself. He's such a protector of women. Silk is going to kill them. We've got to see that!"
"That sure promises to be interesting to watch," agreed Sasuke, closing his eyes.
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Next chapter: Snakes