Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Naruto are property of Masashi Kishimoto. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.

The third fic under the 'Just' name.

Just Goodbye

By Nanaki Lioness

They walked silently through the streets of Konoha, both feeling uncomfortable and looking to the floor. They had passed the point they usually parted a while ago, neither of them wanting to be the one to break the mood and say 'so, this is it'.

"So… When will we do this again?" Naruto eventually asked nervously, unable to look Sasuke in the eye and halting his stride. He'd end up on the other side of town to his apartment if he'd carried on walking, and besides- one of them had to do it, and it was becoming apparent it wasn't going to be Sasuke.

Sasuke shrugged. "Whenever it's possible. You know that."

Naruto looked at his feet, nodding in agreement. He did know, but he had to ask, just in case Sasuke knew something he didn't that would result in another day spent together.

"I guess I'll see you tomorrow then?" He said, looking up from the floor, but Sasuke was already walking away. He bit his lip slightly, feeling the usual pang he always did when they parted. He knew Sasuke hated goodbyes, and that he avoided them. Naruto also knew he should be used to it by now, but every time they separated wordlessly, it would sting harshly for an hour or two afterwards before eventually settling into the dull ache he'd become accustomed too.

"Sasuke," he called, unable to refrain from doing so. They'd had such a perfect day, and he couldn't allow it to end like this. He needed to close it, so he could take the memory away with him and store it in the small corner of his mind he reserved for such actions. "I love you."

Sasuke stopped walking, but didn't turn around. Naruto could see his head move slightly from side to side, and didn't have to ask to know he was glancing around to see they were alone. He felt a pang of anger at that- he wouldn't have shouted it had he sensed anybody nearby.

He wanted Sasuke to return the sentiment. This was the first time he had said it to him- in fact, the first time he had admitted it out loud at all. He hadn't, even to himself. He bit his lip harder, waiting for the response he hoped he would get.

Sasuke stood still for a moment, still not turning around. Eventually, he raised a hand up, waving slightly over his shoulder before continuing to walk away.

Naruto watched him go, a tiny smile on his lips. It wasn't a returned 'I love you too'- he should have known better than to expect it- but it was a goodbye.

In front of him walking in the other direction, Sasuke thanked that Naruto was choosing not to pursue him. He didn't want to explain the tears in his eyes, because he didn't have a definite answer to that himself.

-.-.-

Naruto awoke with a start, eyes widening and instantly grabbing a kunai from his bedside table, turning and bearing it. He'd felt movement next to him, and even in a semi-sleep state, he had quick reactions. A ninja with slow reactions was dead, and being tired was no excuse for poor self defense.

"Put that down you moron."

Naruto blinked, lowering the kunai to the bedside table again.

"Am I dreaming?" He asked. "Are you really here, Sasuke?"

"I'm here."

Naruto felt arms circle him, pulling him in for a hug, and let himself be held. He was half asleep and confused- why was Sasuke here and why was he willingly initiating a hug?

"How did you get in?" He asked quietly, wrapping his arms around Sasuke in return. The room was dark, and he couldn't see him clearly.

"Your window's open."

Naruto began to wake up slightly more, remembering he'd left the window open to let some of the warm air in his apartment out. The summer was being particularly vicious, and he'd barely been able to sleep due to the humid weather.

"This is unlike you," he said after a moment, breaking the hug and pulling back. He was starting to adjust to the darkness, and was able to see Sasuke scowling at him.

"Shut up."

Naruto smirked at that, allowing Sasuke to push him down onto the bed and curl up at his side like he had done at the park. Naruto wrapped an arm around, smiling to himself.

"So why are you here?"

He felt Sasuke shrug. "Couldn't sleep."

"So you broke the rule you set up about keeping this secret?"

"No-one saw me, and it's three in the morning. Unless you have someone hiding under all that laundry on the floor, no-one knows I'm here."

Naruto frowned. "I normally do that stuff on my day off, and since you dragged me off, I didn't get the chance!"

"Are you complaining?"

Naruto tightened his grasp on Sasuke, shaking his head. "Of course not."

They stayed curled up for a while, Naruto feeling himself drifting off to sleep again.

"You can't stay," he heard himself saying, voice laced with fatigue. He hadn't wanted to say it, but apparently his half-asleep self was more sensible than his awake self.

"I know, Naruto."

Naruto smiled at that, setting the last grasp he had on his consciousness free. He was content in Sasuke's arms right now, and for the first time in the months they'd been together, he'd get to fall asleep next to his boyfriend.

-.-.-

At five am, Naruto's alarm clock sounded noisily, jerking him awake instantly. He leant over and hit the button to turn it off, turning back over and reaching out for Sasuke. He felt around without prevail, finally opening his eyes sadly to see the space in his bed where Sasuke had been in the night. He sighed, disappointed- maybe it really had been a dream after all?

His eyes fell onto the other side of his pillow and he sat upright, opening his curtains on the window above his bed. Sitting on the white linen pillowcase were a couple of strands of dark hair, clearly visible against the stark white.

Naruto smiled slightly, reaching out to pluck them up, frowning when his fingers connected with the pillow. It was damp, and he smiled wistfully as he pulled the hair free and held it between his fingers. Last night hadn't been a dream, and it seemed Sasuke hadn't been gone all that long.

He made a mental note to go slightly easier on him that day for training. Clearly, he hadn't had much sleep that night.

-.-.-

Author's Note: And we're all done :) Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed. I'll go back to Taming Sasuke now XD