NOTE: I AM GOING TO REWRITE THIS CHAPTER. I was not very pleased with this chapter when I wrote it, but I was starting to feel guilty about making you people wait so long for the ending, so I posted it. Since I have received a few reviews that say others agree that this chapter is not quite up to standard, I will be rewriting it to my satisfaction and hopefully yours. I will leave this up until I'm finished, so if you like it that's wonderful, and if you don't, I'll be making it better. Please don't hound me – I'm usually a very slow writer, and writing this entire story (even as short as it is) inside of a few months has very nearly killed me. PLEASE BE PATIENT, I'LL TRY MY BEST. Thank you. :)
A/N: Okay, crew; this is the very last chapter of the story. So please read, review, and tell me everything you liked and hated, because this is your last chance to do it! I'm so happy to have Sasuke finally stop being an idiot, and yet at the same time I don't want to write the ending, because then I won't get to write the story anymore. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH, I HATE ENDINGS!!!!!!!
…Ahem. Sorry. On with the show, yeah? Oh, and this is a really, really long chapter. For me, at least. Which is why it took so bloody long to write, in case you were wondering (well, that and the fact that I'd been very distracted by this card game on my computer that I just figured out how to play – I'd write, like, two sentences and then think 'Ah, time for a card game!' …It's so bloody easy to distract me…D: )
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Chapter Eight: Finally
Sasuke didn't know what to do. He just didn't. Since his plans had consisted entirely of breaking everything to Naruto at the gate the day he came back, he was now blank and couldn't seem to come up with anything else that didn't take him so far out of his comfort zone that he'd probably start killing people out of anxiety. Feeling like a chicken running around with its head cut off, Sasuke could only wander aimlessly around his house, unable to think or plan or – or anything, really, except to make a lot of tea.
There were times when he wished he was a closer friend to Shikamaru, so he could have access to the man's strategic abilities.
All right. No. He had to be calm. He had to think. This wasn't really such a big deal, was it? All he had to do was – was – go over to Naruto's place and tell him –
…Maybe he should practice that part. To be honest, he'd never actually declared his love to anyone before – least of all his best friend.
He sat down and put his hands in his lap, taking a deep breath. "So… Naruto. I love you. No, no… I can't just say it; he'd think I was mocking him or something… Naruto, I've been thinking a lot since I read your letters, and I think I'm – no, he still doesn't know about Sakura, he'll think I'm dumping her or something. He wouldn't want me to do that. Kami, how do I tell him what happened with her? He'll think I'm just going with him because Sakura dumped me. How am I supposed to explain that?" He crossed his arms and sat back, resting his head on the back of the couch.
His married friends were always complaining about the romantic chick-flicks their wives were always making them watch; had he ever done that with Sakura? Surely she of all people would have wanted to impress upon him the way she wanted him to behave by showing it to him, right? That would be such a big help right now. He… vaguely recalled something…
They were sitting on Sakura's couch in the dark in front of the television. She had her legs curled up against her belly and her head rested contentedly on his shoulder. Sasuke was sitting with his legs stretched out in front of him, with one arm around Sakura and his other dangling over the arm of the couch. The movie had been playing for about half an hour, but there were no explosions or shouting or anything to keep his attention, and he'd had such a long day, and there were too many characters for him to keep track of in his half-conscious state, and the room was so invitingly dark, with Sakura warm and soft against his side…
Damn it, the one time he had a chance to witness how people who were supposed to hate each other told each other they were in love (which, he'd gathered from the others, was the main point of movies like that), and he'd fallen asleep! What was he supposed to do now? It wasn't like he could call up Sakura and ask for her help! They – she – had just broken off the engagement. The wound, he expected, would still be too sore no matter what she said, and telling her he was in love with a man would not help the issue.
But she did have a great deal of knowledge on the subject…
He sighed and rubbed his eyes. He hadn't slept well in several weeks, and now he had this to deal with… He'd be lucky if he got through this awake, let alone alive.
All right. Plan. Think. There had to be something he could do, something he could say…
Maybe he could write a letter back to Naruto! Copy his words, kind of thing, only put Naruto's name where Sasuke's was…
He hit himself in the forehead. Talk about a stupid idea – he was trying for honest, not corny, singing-love-songs-under-your-window-by-moonlight romantic! Can we say cheesy beyond all belief? "Cheesy beyond all belief…" the ninja muttered to himself, cradling his face in his hands and taking a deep breath. This shouldn't be so difficult. It was just three little words, and he already knew – well, he was pretty sure, at least – how Naruto felt in return! Sometimes – just sometimes – he wished he'd actually taken advantage of his fan-club and practiced once in a while…
"What's cheesy beyond all belief?"
Sasuke was too tired to even be surprised at the sudden presence of the other jounin. "Please leave me alone, Kakashi; I'm trying to be miserable and pathetic here, and it's very hard to do with you hanging around grinning at me all the time."
Kakashi ignored his words and sat down next to him on the couch. "You look glum, chum; what's your trouble? Loverboy not as eager as you thought?"
"I hate you so much sometimes…"
"Ah. So I'm right, then."
"…You're lucky I'm so tired and miserable and pathetic right now, or I'd beat that smug grin into the floor."
"I'll just be glad you're so tired and miserable and pathetic right now, then, won't I. Come on, now; why don't you tell Kakashi-sensei what the problem is, and he'll help you along, hey?" an arm draped itself across his shoulders and patted the farthest one.
Both men were surprised when Sasuke actually leaned on him, resting his head on Kakashi's shoulder with a tired sigh. "I don't know what to do…" he mumbled, feeling Kakashi stiffen, then relax, and the arm around his shoulder tighten a bit. He was just so tired, and bewildered, and frustrated…
"All right. Well, why don't you fill me in? I'll try to help."
It was really very simple, even with the discomfort of revealing his thoughts and – feelings (Kami, he felt like such a girl, saying this kind of thing to Kakashi of all people), and it took maybe ten minutes to explain everything.
"Hmm… you know, all I sense here is a lack of motivation." Kakashi said at the end.
Sasuke glared up at him. "I'm not Shikamaru, you know."
"Mm, yes… but if you actually put yourself in a situation where a response would be necessary from both of you, then a response would come, yes? You just won't put yourself in that situation. You lack the motivation."
Sasuke pulled away and stared at him. "There really isn't any point in talking to you, is there."
Kakashi smiled. "Now, now, Sasuke; you wanted some advice, and I gave it to you. Just dive right in; it'll come out right in the end."
"And what if it doesn't? He passed out just from hearing that I'd read the letters. I don't know about you, but that doesn't seem very promising to me!" he snapped.
Kakashi's expression went slightly colder, like he was getting irritated with trying to get his message across to someone so stubborn. "And did you think that maybe he's scared that his male best friend, who is engaged to one of his female friends, has not reacted in a particularly good way to his declaration? Use your head."
"But I'm not – oh." Sasuke looked away, frowning. He wasn't engaged any more… but Sasuke hadn't told that to the blonde, and to the best of his knowledge Naruto hadn't spoken to Sakura yet, either. So if no one told him, he couldn't know, could he?
Why hadn't he thought about that before?
"I can practically see the wheels turning in your head. It's very entertaining watching you young ones work out the obvious," Kakashi smiled, slapping Sasuke companionably on the back.
Sasuke glared at him. "I'm not exactly a teenager anymore, Kakashi."
"And yet you're still having teenage love problems, my dear little student."
"I'm not your student anymore, either."
"Of course not," Kakashi chuckled patronizingly and ruffled the other man's hair, disappearing in a puff of smoke before Sasuke could object.
Sometimes he really, really hated that man.
Especially when he made sense.
Sasuke checked around the blonde's door for somewhere a key might be hidden. He'd hoped at first that it would be unlocked, but Naruto really and truly did not want visitors, especially if one of those visitors was going to turn out to be an angry Uchiha or his jealous fiancé. The door was locked and, from what Sasuke could see through the window, barricaded from the inside.
He didn't find a key (which was to be expected if Naruto really didn't want anyone to come in), and sighed in resignation. He had no choice, now – he had to make it obvious that he wasn't 'just dropping by.' Around on the side of the building, Naruto's window was open, presumably to let in a breeze, not other ninjas. But he really shouldn't have been so careless – shinobi used windows about as much as doors.
Sasuke jumped up on the sill, stepped inside, and froze. Tranquil blue carpet and walls, silver-framed pictures of Naruto's team and Team 7, silver and blue lamp, silver and blue blanket with blonde hair sticking out from under it – oh. OH. Bedroom. Ah – not good. Not a good idea to be found in Naruto's bedroom. It wasn't a good idea to wake up an ANBU member – even a calmly sleeping one could take out your eye or remove a limb for you. People who woke up ANBU in hotels stood by the doorways in full body armor and threw pebbles until the person woke up, then turned and ran like hell. ANBU did not tend to be morning people. Sasuke made for the door, but stopped when a soft sound like a whine came from the bed. He glanced back.
Under the covers, Naruto had curled up; his head was out from under the blanket, along with his hands, which were clenched onto his pillow. For a second Sasuke thought he'd just shifted in his sleep, and for an instant he mistook the low growl for a snore, but when the kunai came out from under Naruto's pillow and he started thrashing against his blankets he recognized it for what it was.
Nightmares were not infrequent for ninjas, especially ANBU. The paranoia caused by being constantly on your guard carried over into your dreams – which was why some shinobi required medicine to sleep through the night undisturbed and in one piece (since they often slept with kunai and shuriken near at hand, it was entirely possible for them to actually dismember or kill themselves in their sleep).
Sasuke moved carefully to the side of the bed. He didn't want to let Naruto continue with his nightmare, but he didn't want to wake him up because that wouldn't chase the dream away; it would only put it on pause until the blonde fell back asleep. Plus, it would put them both in the awkward situation of having been found in the middle of murdering some presumably innocent pillows on Naruto's part and having entered his best friend's bedroom without permission while he was there on Sasuke's. He'd just as soon avoid that.
He caught one wildly flailing leg with his hand and pinned it to the mattress with his knee, then made the dangerous grab for the hand holding the kunai. In any normal situation an ANBU would have woken up even before physical contact was made, but nightmares violent enough to make them actually grab onto their weapons were strong enough to make them believe they were already awake. So Naruto struggled against him, snarling and thrashing and trying to get the knife into Sasuke's throat with his eyes tightly closed, while Sasuke leaned down close to his friend's ear and started whispering desperately, trying to convince him to stop struggling – it was a lot harder holding the blonde down when he thought he was fighting for his life rather than when they were just sparring.
"Naruto! Naruto, it's all right. I'm here. Everything's all right. Nobody's hurt. There's nobody here to fight you. Nobody here. Just me. It's all right. You don't have to fight anymore, they're gone. They're gone," he repeated, his tone getting gentler and gentler as Naruto's struggling lessened, then stopped after about a minute. It took a lot longer than that for his muscles to relax and his breathing to slow down, and even longer for him to let Sasuke take the kunai from his hand, but at last it was done and Naruto was resting quietly amidst pillow stuffing and a tangled quilt and sheets.
Sasuke breathed a quiet sigh of relief as he put the knife on the bedside table, removed the torn pillow from the bed, and covered the blonde once more with his blanket. He sat there on the edge of Naruto's bed for a while, watching him sleep. And then he had a sudden impulse, and because he was tired and miserable and pathetic just then, he didn't bother to restrain it.
Naruto didn't wake up when Sasuke lay down next to him, although he stirred enough to make the other ninja hold his breath, but he settled once more and the black-haired man relaxed a little. For a while he lay propped up on one elbow, watching his friend's deep, even breathing, and started to feel a little sleepy himself. Almost without realizing it, he leaned down and rested his cheek on Naruto's shoulder – just for a minute, he told himself.
He could touch the blonde's skin like this because the other was only wearing a white muscle-shirt. His shoulder was warm and scarred from being repeatedly sliced open with kunai and shuriken, and smelled faintly of sweat and the odor-killer the ANBU used to avoid being tracked by nin-dogs. Sasuke moved a little, nosing lightly against the other's neck, where fine blonde hair tickled at his face. He wanted to snuggle right in and go to sleep – he'd explain everything tomorrow. He hadn't slept in days, and he was so tired…
Naruto shifted, turning on his side so that his back was to Sasuke, dislodging his guest from his shoulder. The black-haired ninja grumbled in his head and turned over as well, putting his back against Naruto's. All right, he could take a hint; he had to think of what to do, now that he knew where Naruto was but didn't really have it in him to wake him up and tell him what was going on.
Naruto's breathing was very deep and soft, and his body was warm and relaxed. Sasuke wanted to stay there forever. And… he had to find a way to keep it this way. Where they could sleep – well, not just sleep, but rest, and not have to be anxious or awkward together; where they could be together and trust each other and not have to smile (or scowl) just to keep up an act.
And right now he really, really wanted to kiss Naruto's skin – more specifically, right where his shoulder and neck joined.
Okay. Back to the subject. He could just wake Naruto up now and tell him he loved him; it would be very simple. But what if –
His skin was very soft, and he had a light brown tan that Sasuke very desperately wanted to run his fingers over.
Damn it, how was he supposed to think when his brain was turning to fuzz and mush, and Naruto was so warm against his back, and he hadn't slept in so long…?
And then it hit him. The Uchiha smiled slowly, sat up, and went to find a pen and paper.
Naruto woke up and didn't open his eyes for a moment, listening to his surroundings and feeling around delicately for unfamiliar chakra signatures. It almost gave him a heart-attack when he identified the faint remains of Sasuke's chakra, and carefully peeked through his eyelashes. That was when he saw the envelope propped up on his bed-side table, 'U. Naruto' written neatly across the front in Sasuke's hand.
He opened his eyes completely and stared at the envelope for a minute, half-expecting it to disappear before his eyes. Very, very slowly, he sat up and glanced around, cautiously reached for the paper, and with trembling hands removed the note from its envelope.
I realize and completely understand your discomfort at our situation here, but I think it has gone far enough. Numerous times in your letters you stated that we were friends above all else, and I agree with you completely – I wouldn't want to end our friendship over this. I realize it may seem a little awkward for a while, but you're my best friend and I don't want to lose you.
Meet me tonight at Icharaku; we'll have a drink and get this behind us, all right? I'll be there at eight thirty.
Naruto lowered the letter into his lap, face blank. Best friends – FRIENDS forever. I understand. It may seem a little awkward. Icharaku. Let's get this behind us. He sat there for half an hour, brain full of static, before glancing at the clock. Eight twenty. Had he really slept that long? And for an instant he was so completely consumed with hatred that he tore the note in a hundred tiny pieces, crumpled them up, and flung them across the room. He clutched his head in his hands and forcefully choked down the scream trying to tear up his throat.
But just like that it vanished, leaving him exhausted beyond tears or shouting or arguing. There was just no… no point anymore… He'd hidden this for so long, and now it was out in the open… They'd probably never be the same together. And after the marriage – and what if Sakura found out? He'd never be able to look her in the eye ever again. And her children… how could he ever look at her children…? But it didn't matter. It didn't matter, because now it was out in the open, and now he might really have to go through with those suicide threats he'd made in his writing. Or maybe, because he wouldn't want Sasuke to feel guilty about his death – he was never, never, going to hurt Sasuke – he'd just go on more S-class missions. After all, there had to be at least one extremely dangerous missing-nin out there strong enough to kill him. He'd just have to find the right one…
He took a deep breath and stood up. Going over to his closet, he pulled out the first shirt and pants he could find – black, of course; so much black – and changed. Bleakly, he climbed up on his windowsill and walked down the side of the building. He didn't bother hurrying to be on time.
At the ramen stand, Sasuke was sitting calmly, talking to the ramen-man's daughter. Naruto looked at them disconsolately for a minute before sitting down on the stool next to his… friend…
Sasuke glanced at him. "I'm glad to see you made it," he smiled, as if he couldn't see the miserable expression on the blonde's face, and poured Naruto a cup of sake. "Drink that while we wait for the ramen."
Naruto did as he was ordered, dreading in a fatalistic kind of way the time when Sasuke would bring up the subject of the letters and try to discuss them with him.
But it never seemed to come up. Whenever his cup was empty Sasuke would refill it, and Naruto would drink it, and when the ramen came they ate, and then Sasuke gave him more sake, and the cycle continued as Sasuke held a one-way conversation about the goings-on of the village. In a vague manner Naruto was aware that he was purposely being given alcohol in order to dull his senses, and for a second there flared in him the idea that someone was impersonating Sasuke in order to get past his defenses and kill him, but again, it didn't matter. It wasn't like it could matter… Not now…
Sasuke was talking to him, and he was laughing, and he didn't know why. He had his arm across Sasuke's shoulder, and he couldn't quite figure out where the ground was and where he was supposed to put his feet. He vaguely recognized some buildings they were passing – they were heading to his house, huh? Probably because Naruto couldn't have made it on his own.
There was a blur, and they were standing outside his door. Sasuke was looking at him solemnly, but Naruto couldn't seem to stop giggling, and then the floor jumped out from under him and he fell face-first on the door, which was the floor for a minute, and then became the door again. He giggled.
A voice – probably Sasuke's – came to him as if from a long ways off. "Naruto, I need to talk to you." There was a hand on his arm, pulling him back into a standing position.
Sasuke's eyes were very black; they took up all of his sight. Moonlight glinted off the one side of them, sparkling brightly. There were no eyes prettier than Sasuke's. None in the world…
The floor leapt again as if trying to tell him he'd missed something, and he realized Sasuke had been speaking to him. He blinked. "Ehwaa…?" came his response, which was slightly less intelligent than he'd meant for it to be, but Sasuke smiled patiently and repeated himself.
"I love you."
Sasuke watched as the blonde stared at him uncomprehendingly for a minute, blue eyes bright and bleary with alcohol, before he jumped and blinked, eyes suddenly wide. "You – yawat?"
"I. Love. You."
With Naruto as drunk as he was, Sasuke was pleased to find, it was so much easier to say this. And the several glasses of sake he himself had downed helped the process even more.
Everything was so much easier when everyone was drunk.
Naruto's mouth dropped open, and then he shook his head, falling against his door again, this time as if he was trying to back away. Sasuke frowned at him. "N-no – no you – can't – you d-don't…" he whispered, not looking up. "You said – friends – we'd just be friends, right?" his words were slightly slurred, but not as much as Sasuke would have expected, considering how much Naruto had drunk. "That's what you said. S-sake… sake… drunk… you're – you're just – "
Sasuke grabbed Naruto's chin and dragged his face around. "You might be drunk, but I'm not, and I do in fact love you." And he kissed him.
He didn't mean to – it was just a kind of impulse, and it was so much harder to stop impulses when you'd had something to drink – and he almost missed, as well, just touching the one corner. But it was worth it; the blonde's skin was just as soft and warm as he'd thought, and it sent his pulse thrumming happily at his throat and chest and head. He was so light-headed, in fact, that he almost mistook Naruto's passing out for him kissing him back. He just barely caught the blonde in his arms in time to keep him from toppling down the stairs.
Sasuke struggled to pull Naruto into his arms bridal-style, and tried to open the door before he remembered it was barricaded on the inside. He was tempted to use fire to get everything out of the way, but figured Naruto would probably dislike him for that, so he stumbled around to the side of the building and clumsily made his way up the wall.
It was dark in Naruto's bedroom. He tripped once and nearly fell – all right, maybe he was a little drunk – and when he finally found the bed he was too unsteady to try and go around to the other side, so Naruto ended up with his head at the foot of the bed. Sasuke stood panting and staring at him for a minute, looked around, and wondered if he was sober enough to make it back out the window without falling off the building. He looked back down at the blonde, whose breathing was deep and slow, his face flushed in the moonlight, and decided that he was most definitely too drunk to make it back outside. He crawled over the other ninja to where there was room – it was a bloody good thing he'd passed out and wasn't just asleep, or he'd probably have killed Sasuke on contact – and curled against the blonde's side. It was so warm there, and he hadn't slept in such a long time…
His head hurt. And his eyes hurt. And his stomach hurt. And he was still tired.
And if those birds did not shut the fuck up right now, they were going to DIE.
Naruto peeked through his eyelashes and wondered vaguely why his nose was tickling so much. All he could see was black fuzz, and he didn't know why there would be any black fuzz on his bed, much less why it would be pressed up against his nose. He opened his eyes a little more – oh, the sunlight BURNED – and looked down at the black fuzz. Which was not in fact fuzz, but hair. Black hair. Black hair that belonged, more specifically, to a certain Uchiha Sasuke.
It took a moment for full panic to set in, but only because he was hung over and his reflexes weren't quite what they should be. Once he'd caught up to the proper feelings of complete and utter terror, his first thought, treacherously, was rape. Not thinking that that was what he should do, of course, but wondering through a knot of unreserved horror if that was what he had done. He was hung over – so what if, when he was drunk last night, he – he – oh Kami, no…
Completely willing to pull his own heart out of his chest if he'd done what he thought he'd done, he glanced down and was beyond relief and into euphoria when he saw that they were both fully clothed. All right. All right. Good. Yes. The situation might be – might be manageable now. Yes. All right.
What the hell happened last night?
He took a deep breath, and couldn't bring himself to let it out as he clenched one fist and use his other hand to tap Sasuke awake. Whatever happened, they had to get out of this situation, and that was very difficult for Naruto to do with Sasuke sprawled across his chest.
Sasuke mumbled something Naruto could have sworn was 'Just five more minutes…' and sleepily batted his hand away. The blonde almost let go of his breath – almost. He knew that if he didn't breathe out soon he was going to pass out, or at least start shivering violently. "Sasuke," he hissed, half of him praying the other wouldn't wake up. "Sasuke, wake up!"
The black-haired ninja shifted and blinked sleepily up at him, then yawned. "Mmm? Wha?" he mumbled, nosing against Naruto's neck. The blonde let out an involuntary yelp. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED LAST NIGHT??!!
"Sasuke! What are you doing?!"
"Goin' back to sleep…"
"WHY?! I mean – Sasuke, uh, don't you want to at least, uh, know why you're here? In my house? In my bed?"
Sasuke blinked at him blearily, and then seemed to wake up a little. "Naruto… do you remember what happened last night?"
The blonde shook his head violently, panic having taken a complete hold on his entire body and refusing to give up its hold. "No!"
Sasuke sighed and yawned again. "Calm down, a'right?" he flopped his head down on Naruto's chest. "Last night I got you really drunk 'cause I was scared to say anything otherwise an' then I took you home," yawn, "and told you I loved you and kissed you, but you passed out so I had to carry you in here, and then I was," yawn, "too tired to go home. Now go back to sleep…" he yawned again.
Naruto lay there in shock for a long minute. Then he grabbed the kunai from under his mattress and rolled so that he was pinning the other's hands under one arm and had his knife against his throat with the other. "I don't know who you are, but you're a really fucking bad imposter," he snarled, ignoring the surprised look on that familiar face, "and if you've hurt Sasuke I swear to Kami-sama that you will be BEGGING me to kill you."
The man stared at him incredulously for a second before getting angry. Naruto was a little surprised that he didn't struggle. "Naruto, you idiot, I'm not an imposter! For Kami's Sake, it's too early for this," he scowled.
Naruto pressed his knife down a little harder, and the man squirmed slightly. "You've got to try harder than that. Now tell me where Sasuke is before I decide to give you a new mouth down here," he snapped.
And then he froze at the word that came out of the black-haired man's mouth. "I'm right here, usurutonkachi! Now let go of me!"
Naruto stared at him. Usurutonkachi… Sasuke hadn't called him that in years, so how could an imposter…? The kunai fell out of his hand, and he was suddenly very, very aware that he was lying on top of his best friend, who had just said he loved him – wait, what? "But – but yesterday – your note – you said – "
"I know what I wrote, idiot! That was just to throw you off. Now will you get off of me? I can't breathe."
Naruto rolled off so fast he nearly fell off the bed. Sasuke propped himself up on his elbows and watched with obvious amusement as Naruto tried to find something to say. Even though he knew he looked stupid sitting there gaping like a fish, he couldn't seem to make himself stop. "I – I – but – you – uh – but – you – what? – I – I just – "
Sasuke smiled, and for an instant the blonde was filled with mind-numbing fear.
Sasuke grabbed the front of his shirt and kissed him firmly on the lips – and this time he didn't miss. For a second Naruto stiffened, surprised, and then melted against him as if glad for an excuse to stop talking. Sasuke pulled away slightly, eyes closed, and smiled against the other ninja's lips. "Naruto, you are way too paranoid," he kissed him again, gently, and eased them back into a sleeping position. A few hours of drunken sleep did not make up for two weeks. Whatever time it was, it was much, much too early for this.
Naruto pulled away and scowled, his cheeks red. "I'm not paranoid; I'm just terribly, terribly alert," he muttered, cautiously wrapping one arm around the other and running his fingers through Sasuke's hair. Sasuke would have purred if he could have; that felt so nice… He growled when the petting stopped. "Hey, Sasuke?"
"Keep petting," he grumbled, settling into the crook of Naruto's arm.
"Would you say it again?" the fingers obediently started running through his hair again.
Sasuke murmured happily. "Say what…?"
"…What you said last night…" Naruto answered quietly. He sounded embarrassed.
Sasuke's brain was fuzz and mush again. It took a long time to figure out what it was he'd said last night that Naruto would want him to repeat.
"I just – I don't remember what you said, so…"
He smiled and kissed the tan underside of the blonde's jaw. "I love you."
An almost imperceptible shiver ran through Naruto's body.
"Hey, Naruto?" he said softly against the warm, smooth skin of the other ninja's neck.
"…Do you want to quit the ANBU?" Naruto was silent, but Sasuke could feel him tensing almost undetectably. He didn't quite know what to say, but… There was this… "Because… I want you to…" And yes, maybe he did try a little too hard to sound pathetic, so that Naruto would think that he was going to cry, but he really did want him to quit.
"…I really hate the ANBU."
"You think they need two weeks' notice?"
"…I doubt it." They were silent, and Sasuke started to drift back to sleep, but then he thought of something else, something very, very important, that really had to be taken care of right now. "And I'm seme."
There was a moment of surprised silence, and then a fist connected with his shoulder. "Like hell you are!"
Sasuke sat up and looked him sternly in the eye. "I'm not giving on this."
"I don't fucking care! I'm bigger than you! There's no way I'm going to be bottom!" They glared at each other for a second, and then Naruto grabbed onto him and rolled them over so Sasuke was under him. Sasuke struggled, but he was very tired, and couldn't quite get him off. "Ha! You can't even – mmhhfff!"
Sasuke kissed him. Naruto tried to pull away for a second, then relaxed. Sasuke used the opportunity to flip him. "You're bigger than me," he smiled, and bit the blonde's lower lip when he started struggling, "but you're very easily distracted. And I AM seme."
Naruto complained but didn't struggle, afraid that his lip would be removed. "'Ike b'oody he' you awe!"
Sasuke was about to continue arguing when he saw the clock hanging on the wall above Naruto's doorway. He let go of the blonde's lip. "Holy shit, it's only six o'clock?! Naruto, if you wake me up before next millennium, I swear by Kami I'm going to murder you, love or not. Good day to you." He flopped over and buried his face in Naruto's neck, asleep in an instant and leaving the other ninja awake for a few surprised minutes before his hangover forced his eyes closed again.
Across the street, on the flat roof of another apartment building, three figures stood watching in the early morning light. One by one, as the two below fell asleep, the figures turned away and dropped lightly to the ground below.
"You see?" said the first, as he was joined by the second and then the third. "I told you I could get them together."
"You say that as if you did it all on your own," the second said, clearly unimpressed.
"Well, I did do most of it."
"Ha! You wouldn't have even known about it I hadn't told you about the letters. And we can't possibly forget Sakura-san's part in this; nothing you said could have helped if she hadn't aided us."
"…By the way, Sakura-san, how are you feeling? You look a little pale."
She glanced up from her feet and smiled a little. "I'm all right. And they did look sweet together, didn't they?" she linked her arms through those of her two companions.
"Mm, yes… that reminds me. How did Lee react when you told him you were free?" the first asked.
She chuckled. "I thought his head was going to explode, he looked so happy, but in the end he just fell over a few times. It's a little hard to believe he waited for me for so long."
"Well, he's a good man," the second said, patting her arm. Then he glanced across her and sighed. "Kakashi, do you always have to drag that pornography everywhere with you?"
"Of course, Iruka darling. Where do you think I get all my, ah, midnight inspiration from, hmm…?"
Sakura giggled as Iruka turned a deep shade of red and covered his face with his hand. "How many times do I have to tell you not to say things like that in public?"
A/N: …That's the end. Right there. …:) / ):?... Now if you would excuse me, I'm going to go off into a corner and cry because it's over. Please review? It might make me feel a little better… (sniffle)
A/N2: This is the first time I've ever written a kissing scene – or a romantic scene period – so please be kind. And thank you, everyone, for following my story this far!!! I love you all!!! (And by the way… suggestions for other stories or sequels are very much appreciated. If you want to give them. But you don't have to, of course.)