Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Naruto Characters and I couldn't make money off of them if I tried. Please don't sue me

Art and Artifice

chapter 22

Naruto and Itachi followed the hanging string of patio lanterns and the sound of music and laughter down the wide trail leading off from the parking lot. The student council had commandeered a large section of Centennial Park, and while they'd also had a backup plan, it had turned out to be the perfect night for an outdoor prom. There were more lanterns and fairy lights everywhere. There had been some debate about torches but it was decided that actual fire around a group of celebrating teens might not be the best idea. A stage was set up but the band was still getting their equipment ready and the music coming from the huge speakers at the moment was recorded. A huge banner congratulating the graduating class was strung up between two trees and the students were signing and doodling all over it. Naruto was thrilled with the idea of an outdoor dance. He sucked in a deep breath of air. Ah summer twilight, how he loved it.

Graduation had been a triumph. He had stood proudly on that auditorium stage in his cap and gown, braving the stares and whispers with a smile. The guys from Shuriken had been his guests, taking the place of family admirably. Kotetsu and Izumo had hooted and hollered loud enough to deafen the people around them when the blond's name was called, announcing his status as an honors student. After the ceremony, Sasuke had found him getting some punch at the crowded reception. The Uchiha had cleared his throat and Naruto had awkwardly moved out of the way with a mumbled apology.

"Wait, I wanted to talk to you. Just talk. I promise." Naruto stopped and, after a slight pause, had nodded warily. Sasuke took a deep breath. "I just wanted to thank you. I have decided what University I want to go to. I'm going to become a writer and that's partially thanks to you." The blond looked about to protest but Sasuke held up a hand. "Mostly I wanted to let you know that I realize I have the opportunity to make a new beginning. I'll be going to a new school full of people that I have yet to meet, and while I don't think I'll ever be like 'you', I will be making a very different impression this time. And that's 'definitely' thanks to you."

A small smile had snuck it's way onto Naruto's face. The boy hadn't actually apologized, but for the proud Uchiha Sasuke, that speech couldn't have come easily. He probably 'wouldn't' ever be like Naruto but he was trying to become a better person and Naruto couldn't help hoping that things worked out for him. It seemed that they all really 'were' redeemable, even the evil Bastard.

"I'm glad to hear that Sasuke. You'll probably find lot's of real friends with common interests. I'm sure you'll meet some people you really like there." Then the blond's little smile had grown into a mischievous grin. "Have you considered taking the tour?"

Naruto smiled at the memory. Sasuke still wasn't his favorite person in the world but things were only somewhat awkward between them, which was a damn sight better than outright volatile. He really didn't want there to be too much friction between himself and his boyfriend's family. The thought was thrust out of his head as they entered the designated 'party area' and he was immediately glomped by an excited Ino.

"There you are! Guess what?!" She stared at the blue eyes that blinked in surprise and waited, as though she really expected a response.

"Uh..." He got no further before he was cut off.

"I got accepted! I'm a college student! I totally owe you one! Remember that. If you ever need anything, I'm at your service." Naruto carefully pried himself from her constricting grasp and glared at his chuckling boyfriend.

"That's wonderful Ino! Congratulations! I 'knew' you would make it though."

"Ino! That's fabulous!" came the cheerful voice of Haku who had just made his way over to them with Zabuza in tow. He gave Ino a big hug and smiled as she squealed and began to chatter a mile a minute.

"Who did you come with?" he asked when he could get a word in edgewise.

"Shikamaru. Oh, I should go get him before he falls asleep somewhere. He makes such a lousy date..." she trailed off as she wandered away into the crowd once more.

"Speaking of 'fabulous'..." Naruto said suggestively as he looked his friend over. Haku was wearing a silky turquoise kimono, with black knee-high platform boots, his long hair up in a bun. (He had managed to get Zabuza into a formal jacket... over top of his usual tee-shirt and jeans.)

"Is that necklace made of spoons?! It's awesome!" Haku laughed at the enthusiastic compliment. He had bent the handles of a bunch of teaspoons to make eyelets at different lengths, so that they made a point in the middle when they were hung around his neck on a leather string. "Maybe you should have used a fork and knife in your hair instead of the chop sticks."

"Damn!" said Haku snapping his fingers. "I never thought of that. Where were you earlier?" Both boys chuckled at the mental image. "I must say though, you're not looking too shabby yourself."

"Thank you." Naruto preened comically, smoothing his hands down the front of his attire. He had matched a fitted cream colored jacket and vest with black buttons, with a black shirt and black slacks, along with an iridescent orange tie that looked black where the angle of the light changed. Haku chuckled again and made sure to compliment Itachi as well, on his classic elegance. He did look damn fine in a tux.

Not long into the evening, Naruto had discarded the jacket and tie and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. Itachi made no protest as he now had a clear view of how nicely the pants he was wearing hugged his ass. A loud whistle cut through the rest of the noise as Kiba and Hinata approached them.

"Dude! Those pants are 'scandalous'!" Kiba joked.

"Aww Kiba, were you looking at my ass?" Naruto teased right back and Kiba laughed loudly.

"Nope, I've already got me a hot date," he said, hugging a blushing Hinata to his side.

"You look very nice Naruto Kun," said Hinata, with a pretty smile.

"And you look very 'happy'. I'm glad you've found yourself such a stand up guy." He and Kiba exchanged an amused look. "Did you notice he didn't cave to temptation at all?" Kiba burst into barking laughter and Hinata giggled along.

"It was tough man. You 'are' pretty tempting," he countered sarcastically. "So this is Sasuke's brother huh?" He looked to Itachi who introduced himself with his usual fine manners. "I gotta say, it still amazes me that you ended up with an Uchiha. I'm even more amazed at the turn around he's made though. Not that he's apologized for anything he did before, ('that's' too much to hope for) but his attitude has changed quite a bit. He hasn't been 'nearly' as nasty these past few days."

"My brother does seem to have matured somewhat," said Itachi. "Of course, that didn't excuse him from punishment entirely."

"Eh? What did you do to him Itachi?" Naruto asked with a suspicious look.

"I didn't hurt him," he assured innocently. Somehow...'somehow', innocence just didn't seem to suit Itachi. "I just held him upside down and dunked his head in the pool repeatedly until he begged for mercy." he explained matter of factly, as though it should have been obvious. His lips curled into a smirk. "I have to give him credit. He lasted quite awhile." Kiba was almost rolling with laughter.

"This guy's Awesome!" he exclaimed through mirthful tears. Naruto began giving his boyfriend a mock reprimand.

"He's fine," came a familiar voice. All four turned to see Sakura grinning at them. "He came here with me and he looked no worse for the wear."

"Ah hello Sakura chan," Naruto said sheepishly. He never did get to find out her reaction to learning the truth about him.

"Hi Kyuu.. er, uh.. Naruto. Which one do you prefer?" Naruto grinned at her.

"Baby, 'you' can call me anything you 'like'. Just look at your bad self with your sexy tattoo." He waggled an eyebrow ridiculously and she blushed and giggled.

"Oh, you were right about that you know. It 'does' look sexy right now." Sakura turned around to let them see her backless dress that showed off the tattoo perfectly and they all oohed and aahed for her. "But it looks like all the really hot guys like 'you' better," she mock pouted. Itachi smirked and pulled his blond boyfriend against his chest from behind.

Later on Naruto and Itachi were dancing slowly under the twinkling lights toward the edge of the crowd. Naruto rested his head on his boyfriend's shoulder and let out a contented sigh.

"Getting tired?" Itachi asked.

"Maybe a little."

"You know, I think your prom turned out nicer than mine."

"Really?" asked Naruto, smiling up at him.

"Yeah, I've got a 'real' date this time." The blond laughed and leaned up for a kiss which was gladly returned. Suddenly some annoying cooing and giggling interrupted the moment. Glancing over to the side, they noticed that they had a small audience of starry eyed females.

"You want to get out of here?"

"Yeah, I'm about ready to go."


When they'd reached the car and had themselves buckled in, Naruto took a look at the time on the stereo.

"Hmm, I guess it's actually still kind of early to be leaving a prom," he commented.

"That's a good thing. It's going to be a long drive." The blond blinked in confusion.

"Eh? Where are we going?"

"Konoha," Itachi answered with a secretive little smile. Naruto shook his head in baffled amusement and settled back in his seat, deciding to let it go and see what happened. After drowsing through most of the midsection of the trip he was awake and alert when the car pulled up outside of a tidy looking apartment building. He was even more curious now as he'd been expecting to see the university dorms. He followed Itachi into the front doors and up one flight of stairs. When they got to the door Itachi was looking for, he unlocked it and then stood aside motioning for the blond to go ahead. Naruto walked through the door to find a very nice apartment. It's layout was wide open and when the sun came up he was sure there would be a lot of light. He didn't see any of Itachi's personal effects though. The place contained only the major pieces of furniture which seemed to be brand new. He turned back to Itachi in puzzlement.

"I thought you lived in a dorm."

"I did," Itachi answered. "I just got this place. I thought we might need the space."


"Naruto, I want to ask you to move in with me, to live here." Itachi actually allowed a hopeful look to show on his face.

"Itachi! I...but I...I mean I don't.." The blond's stuttering was cut off as Itachi suddenly pulled a crisp, white, official looking envelope from his suit jacket and held it in front of himself, displaying Naruto's name on the face. Naruto blinked, then shifted his gaze up an inch to take in the return address. Itachi was counting down in his head. '..three, two, one.'

"OH MY GOD!!" The blond threw himself at the Uchiha with a wild burst of excited laughter. Itachi staggered back as he caught him.

"I bribed somebody in the office to let me deliver it to you personally," he managed under the crushing hug. Naruto pulled away a little, just long enough to take the envelope and tear it open. Pulling out the contents he looked it over for just a moment before the laughter bubbled up again and he threw his arms back around Itachi.

"I'm in! I'm in! I'm in!"

"Yes," answered Itachi mildly, "and now you're going to need a place to stay. I'd really like to help you out..." he trailed off suggestively.

"YES!" the little blond giggled. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Each repetition was punctuated with a kiss. The last one Itachi caught and held, his tongue diving in unexpectedly. He leisurely made a sweeping exploration of the blond's mouth and began a slow massage of his yielding tongue. Naruto shivered at the intense sensation as his own tongue was drawn back into Itachi's mouth. Strong hands smoothed down his back and he arched into the hard body before him, his arms tightening around broad shoulders. The letter and the envelope fluttered to the floor as both of his hands slid up to cradle the back of Itachi's head, fingers working the tie from his ponytail and then tangling in long dark hair. Itachi sucked lightly on the boy's tongue drawing a muffled whimper from him. He began to tug the dress shirt from the blond's pants as he withdrew his tongue slowly and gave a last little nibble to swollen lips before moving on to lay a path of soft kisses over one marked cheek. A blatant shudder traveled up Naruto's spine as Itachi paused to rest a cheek against his own and hot breath fanned over his ear.

With a little rub of his cheek, the Uchiha brought his lips to that ear and let the tip of his tongue reach out to trace around the edge. Reaching the lobe, he gave it a little nip and dropped an open mouthed kiss to the base of the blond's jaw. Naruto squeaked and goosebumps rose all down the side of his neck. With a smirk at the reaction he'd created, Itachi proceeded to work on that spot, sucking and nibbling for a bit before moving down the side of his neck, following the trail of goosebumps. Heat was flooding Naruto's body, a tightening feeling began in his chest, spreading down to his stomach and radiating outward.

He was having a hard time focusing on any one thing, his attention divided between the mouth teasing every inch of his neck and the hands that had worked their way under his shirt and were causing more goosebumps with the ticklish sensation of fingertips trailing lightly over his skin. He gasped at a sharp little nip to the juncture of his neck and shoulder. Itachi latched on there licking and sucking until he'd created a mark that would last for days. A moan escaped the blond and he threw his head to the side to surrender as much of his skin to the torment as he could but Itachi wasn't satisfied. He needed more. His right hand abandoned it's position on the boys back and snuck up between them to work on the buttons of the shirt that was in impeding his progress, his lips never faltering in their relentless toil. As soon as he had access, he began to attack the blond's collar bone, moving down along the dip of it while his fingers continued to tackle the rest of the buttons. The remaining hand on Naruto's back splayed out firmly to support him as his body leaned back. Coming to the hollow of the boy's throat, Itachi licked a narrow path straight up and over his chin, recapturing that soft mouth. His hands moved to slide the shirt and vest off the little blond's shoulders.

Lost in the kiss, Naruto compliantly unwound his arms from Itachi's shoulders, his hands sliding down over the clothed chest, allowing his own shirt to slip down and catch at his elbows. Immediately Itachi's hands began to explore all the newly exposed skin. Naruto trembled under the erotic touch, his pulse racing. His hazy mind was unable to process anything beyond the desire to return the gesture. His fingers began fumbling to undo Itachi's buttons which was hard work when he was trembling and even more difficult when he was continually being distracted by what Itachi was doing to him. Finally getting the last button loose, he yanked the hem up from where it was tucked into the pants, spreading the shirt as wide open as he was able, and slid his hands up over the warm skin that was revealed. A low, soft groan left Itachi at the caress of those gentle, questing fingers on his chest. He slid his own hands from the blond's shoulders over his arms and up to cover the smaller hands with his own. His fingers curled around to grasp them and he pulled away from the blonds lips. Opening his eyes to study Naruto's face, he took a backward step toward the hall, bringing those hands with him. He paused then for a reaction.

Naruto's mind cleared a little as he caught on to what was happening. He felt his stomach flutter and his throat suddenly went dry. Swallowing heavily and biting his lip, his insides tingling with nervous energy he focussed his gaze on Itachi's coal black eyes and took a step forward. His already flushed face grew hotter when he saw his boyfriend's lips begin to curl up at the corners. Inwardly elated at the encouraging reaction, the Uchiha took another step back and Naruto followed more quickly this time. When they reached the bedroom door Naruto pulled his hands from Itachi's hold. His arms dropped to his sides and the shirt and vest slipped the rest of the way off. With his head bowed timidly, he walked ahead into the room. Stopping at the bedside he looked back nervously over his shoulder. Itachi was still standing at the door, mesmerized by the picture he made. A gleam came to pitch dark eyes and in three long strides he reached the blond, discarding his own shirt along the way, and wrapped his arms around his slender waist.

He began at the end of one tattooed tail on a golden shoulder and followed it down with lips and tongue, sliding his body down the back of the smaller one before him. The blond was making the most arousing sounds as he continued to map out each of the tails. Naruto lifted his arm and twisted his body automatically as Itachi moved up from the spiral and along the last tail following it around the boy's side to his chest, taking note of a very sensitive spot on his ribs while he passed. He reached the tip of the tail and continued on to the nipple nearby that was already tightened from the shivers traveling over Naruto's tanned skin. The blond held Itachi's head to his chest as he fervently assaulted his nipple, and felt his already weak legs turning completely to jelly. Itachi could feel him beginning to slump and caught him quickly. With a smirk he stood, enjoying the little whine of protest he caused and picked up the nine tailed boy to toss him lightly onto the bed.

Itachi moved to quickly unbutton his pants and the smirk grew as he heard the blond's quiet gasp. Blue eyes widened, their gaze trained on those pale hands with utmost fascination. Naruto was biting his lip again and he could almost feel the blush spreading further down his body while he watched Itachi slowly, teasingly lower his pants. The older boy's excitement was evident beneath the thin silky material of his boxers. Naruto blinked and quickly glanced down at himself. Wow those pants really 'were' scandalous!

Suddenly Itachi, clad only in his boxers, was settling himself on top on the blond, straddling his hips deliberately. He leaned down and captured the sweet lips that he'd become so addicted to and ground his hips experimentally into Naruto's. Overwhelmed by the sudden friction, the blond cried out into Itachi's mouth and bucked up without thought. Itachi growled his approval and licked a quick stripe down the neck and lower still to circle the previously neglected nipple and attach his lips to it while his hands busied themselves with the removal of a pair of ,very sexy but cumbersome pants. His mouth worked it's way down as he moved to slide the pants the rest of the way off. When he reached the area just under the navel, a visible shiver shook the small body and he remained there a moment teasing the sensitive spot. The sound the blond made when he nipped lightly with his teeth caused an answering shudder to roll through his own body.

He curled his fingers into the waistband of the boy's boxer's and heard a tiny squeak. Looking up he found a panting Naruto nervously watching him with foggy blue eyes. Itachi smiled fondly and laid a tender kiss on his sensitized stomach in reassurance. Still watching for any negative sign, he tugged the boxers down past the boy's hips. Naruto's eyes squeezed shut and he sucked in a quiet breath as the cool air of the room rushed over his heated flesh.

Once he had removed the last of the blond's clothing, Itachi sat back to look over his little lover. He was a study of lean, taut muscle in golden tones, splayed out below him on crisp, new sheets. If Itachi had believed in any specific gods, he would have been offering them praises right now. The fingertips of one hand gently traced over the tails that curled around Naruto's right thigh. He smiled at the shy boy who couldn't seem to meet his gaze for embarrassment. How did he manage to be so lucky as to be the first (and 'only' if he had anything to say about about it) to witness something so.. incredibly...

"Beautiful!" he whispered, drawing Naruto's gaze back to him at last. "Nobody has ever, 'could ever' imagine something so beautiful." The blush on scarred cheeks darkened as blue eyes sparkled with a rush of emotion. Naruto leaned up, supporting himself on one hand. The other wound around the back of Itachi's neck to pull him forward into an evocative kiss. Itachi returned the kiss readily with everything he had, leaving the blond breathless. Gently, he pushed him back down, sliding his hands down his sides and onto his thighs, smoothly spreading them open. He kissed and licked his way up the inside of one of those thighs while Naruto held his breath in rising anticipation.

All the air left Naruto's lungs in a rush as a hot, wet tongue swiped up the under side of his cock and swirled around the head. Itachi wasted no time in taking him into his mouth and stroking slowly, taking him deeper with each pass. The blond head fell back, eyes squeezing shut while his mouth opened in a silent cry. He didn't remain silent for long though as Itachi's wicked tongue rubbed slick patterns randomly over his entire shaft. The younger boy's body was soon trembling uncontrollably. Itachi's hands grabbed his hips to hold him steady. When the moans became, quick, panting little mewls, he reluctantly pulled away. Naruto's tensed body collapsed with a pitiful whine and Itachi felt his arousal increasing impossibly at the sight of the helpless, quivering mess he'd reduced his beautiful boy to. Naruto was too far gone to notice his lover reaching for his pants and pulling a tube of clear gel from the pocket, with which he proceeded to slick his fingers. He 'did' notice however when those fingers found his entrance and began to massage the tight ring of muscle there. He let out a little gasp of surprise and involuntarily tried to close his legs. Itachi gently shushed him and soothingly kissed his stomach, while he slid his finger inside as carefully as possible. The little blond's muscles clamped down at first, squeezing the single finger tightly. A flood of excitement washed through Itachi at the feeling and he ground his hips down into the bed in a futile attempt to ease some pressure. He worked his finger gently in and out until the passage relaxed some, before sliding in the second finger, resulting in another spasm and the blond squirming in discomfort. Diligently Itachi continued to loosen him while searching out that supremely sensitive spot inside. He knew he'd found it when Naruto arched onto his fingers suddenly and breathlessly cried out his name. Smirking in triumph he added a third finger, soothing the boy's whimpers with kisses, and continued to prepared him as quickly as he could without causing needless pain. At this point his own patience was hanging by a thread. Finally, coating himself thoroughly with lubricant, he moved up, and catching his elbows under Naruto's knees to hold his legs up and open, he lined himself up with the blond's slicked entrance and slowly slid home.

Naruto was whimpering again and Itachi paused, gritting his teeth for a second to get a hold of himself. He kissed each of the closed eyelids before him and they opened to reveal watery blue.

"It hurts now, but I promise I'll make it better. Just let me make you feel something amazing," he murmured.

"I already do." Naruto smiled at him through his tears and Itachi captured his lips ravenously, beginning to move again.

Before long, his little lover was crying out in ecstasy, begging him to thrust harder, more. The pace picked up. Faster and faster until everything was just an intense blur of color, sound and feeling. It seemed the whole room was getting hotter. Naruto felt like it had been going on forever but he never wanted it to stop. He was almost sobbing now, for a different reason, as he was filled completely again and again. Itachi made sure to strike the spot that had the blond bucking back and screaming his name. God, how loved that sound! The heat and constriction was getting to be too much for him. He quickly brought a hand around to stroke Naruto's cock, bringing him to a finish just before he climaxed himself, as deep inside his lover as he could get. He held himself in place as they both rode out the residual waves of euphoria, gasping and shuddering together. When the blond's spasms had milked him completely and finally died down, he let go of the legs he'd been holding, which fell limply to the bed, and carefully pulled out, mindful of Naruto's wince. Collapsing to the side, he pulled the smaller body into his arms and initiated a long slow kiss. When their lips finally parted, sated blue eyes met and held his own for a long moment.

"I love you so much," the blond whispered ardently.

"I love you 'more'," Itachi responded with a serious face that fell into a familiar smirk a moment later. Naruto giggled, trailing off into a tired sigh. He snuggled his face into Itachi's neck and quickly started to doze off. A couple of minutes went by in peaceful silence.

"Do you think Ino would make me some copies of those pictures?" Itachi didn't bother to dodge the pillow that thwapped him in the face. He just gave a little chuckle and pulling the blond more firmly against him, he kissed the damp golden locks and drifted off to sleep.


(A/N; Well there you go. We've reached the end and hopefully a good time was had by all. This has been a lot of fun and I want to sincerely thank all of you for taking the time to review. Nothing makes me want to write more than a good review. There were a few people who were under the amazing impression that I've been writing this as fast as I've been posting it. LOL I'm not 'that' good man! This story came about because I was all pissy one day that all the good stories take forever to update. So I had a bratty moment and claimed that I could write a chapter a day. I set out to do just that and I nearly killed myself writing 22 chaps in 22 days and posting them on aff. Seriously, there's no way in 'hell' I could have written 3 in one day. XP No sir, I've just been posting at random or whenever someone begged. It's been fun and I'm glad everyone seems to like the results. I hope I haven't spoiled you all too much. Now I must go and proofread my third part to jesus what the hell is that (seriously needs a shorter title but I was feeling lazy when I came up with that one) before I post it. I hope to hear from you again when I get my next fic on the go. dagget out! (so lame XP) )