I don't think I can apologize enough to my readers for how long I haven't updated this story.

SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY!

I kinda just vanished from life. I know many of you prolly don't care too much about why I was gone, but my dad passed away when I was writing this story. (I think I updated once since then) But life still took over. I moved away from home, I moved back home, I got two jobs, I now have a two year serious relationship (:3), I hang out with friends, and I take a full load of college classes every semester.

All those are reasonings to why I was gone. But now I am back and hope to be able to update at least once a month. (I will truly try, but I might be a little slow since I am still a full time student and pretty much have a full time job with two part time jobs.)

Anywhoooo...

Here's the chapter! Hope it's not crappy to anyone! :s

And let me know if anything conflicts with earlier chapters. I tried to glance over everything, but I could have missed something.


Please…

"I'm tired of this, Sasuke."

Why was it…

"I just…"

…that hearing these words…

"I can't stay with you anymore."

…felt like a permanent goodbye?

Uchiha Sasuke froze in place for a solid thirty seconds, just staring at the uneasy female as she fiddled with the bottom of her jacket. She made it out like she had just realized her indecency of no pants and—perhaps?—no undergarments. No matter how alluring this topic had previously been to the secrecy of Sasuke's mind, it no longer held a candle to what just fell out of Naruto's mouth.

This news smarted a little… Hell, it smarted a lot! Biting down on his lip was all Sasuke could do to keep his expression steady and cool, mad even. Having an angry Uchiha was one of Uzumaki Naruto's least favorite things, he knew, but he would rather have that than to have…whatever would happen if she saw his true colors. Wasn't it enough that he had tried so hard for her already? It wasn't like he could put everything he was out there in front of her right this very second to keep her lodging with him…to keep her safe…to keep her.

"Sasuke…please understand…" Naruto was nervous when receiving this look her friend gave her. It wasn't very pleasant at all and foretold a one-sided yelling match. One-sided because she was not about to get a temper with Sasuke again. Naruto wanted this to stop and stop now. Sasuke was kind enough to take responsibility over her while she was weak, but that was all this was to him: responsibility. No matter what Kyuubi said, she knew this was true. There was never a moment where she was at Sasuke's side and he didn't take responsibility for something. Sasuke was screwed up in the head like that. If there was ever anything bad that Sasuke didn't like then he had to do something about it. Hell, he put the Uchiha Clan's death on his shoulders! What was stopping him from doing the same with her sex change?

"Please…don't get mad. I just want everything between us to go back to the way it was before…to…you know, when we had a normal friendship?" Naruto was treading lightly over what she thought to be a field of fireworks with lit ends—hell, she would be running through that field in reality. Unknowingly, to her, instead of making things easier for Sasuke to take in she was only adding salt to the wounds he had.

"I know," Sasuke finally spoke with little emotion to his voice, "that you have asked time and time again for me to act normally around you, and I have, Naruto." His eyes finally gave way to emotion, though it was anger like everything else about his features. "But you have never lived with me before. How do you know me so well to think that I would not act a little different once you are around so often? How do you know that this is not "normal" for us at this point?"

Bright blues darted back to the floor, where they had been for most of the conversation before now. Something about looking at Sasuke while talking about leaving made Naruto want to cry. The feeling was bittersweet. Sweet because she knew Sasuke would allow for her to stay as long as she wanted if she begged; she didn't even have to beg. Bitter because she couldn't do that to him, use his guilt against him. It just wasn't right. If Naruto had been told a week ago that she would be feeling this then she would have laughed her ass off at how stupid it sounded! But living in the moment…she felt like doing anything but laughing.

"I've been with you on missions that take weeks. I know how you normally act whenever I'm around so much. You get pissy…" Naruto almost smiled at the memories of a normal Sasuke arguing with a male Naruto. Something that would never happen again in that exact same context…

"That is true, but there's a difference between being stuck together on drawn out missions and living together."

A warm feeling spread through Naruto's insides. It wasn't just her face this time. Something was lit up within her at these words. "Don't make it sound like that. I'm not "living" here. I'm only staying until I'm capable of taking care of myself."

A smug look came over Sasuke's face. "Hn, if that is the case then you might as well "stay" here for the rest of your life." There was a very meaningful silence between the two of them after this comment. Sasuke had meant it as nothing more than to demoralize Naruto like he normally would with a condescending voice and everything. He realized that Naruto might possibly have taken it another way when absorbing the white, blank face gazing back at him was slowly turning very red. "Don't get the wrong idea, dobe! I meant it as an insult! Not a gay proposal!"

Naruto blinked. One. Two. Three times. There was one word spinning the whole situation into a mass of confusion for her, and it was not "proposal."

"…Gay?" Naruto's hands twitched a bit at the hem of her jacket as her gaze slowly rested on Sasuke once more. The way she made it come out was in question form, and her puzzled expression helped complete the change of mood. Sasuke showed in every way possible that she was a girl. He was one of "them" who used the pronoun she in place of he when addressing Naruto after all. What made him say gay all of a sudden…?

Now Sasuke was the one to look away. "Yes, I said gay. Like you have said: you are still Naruto no matter how your body has changed, therefore: you are still a guy. I only call you a girl because the Hokage got on my case about referring to you as a guy…"

What? Naruto blinked a couple times. "Tsu-Tsunade is the one who…? Why would she do that?" Utter confusion filled the poor blonde's mind. Sure, the Hokage referred to her as a girl now too, but why would she jump all over Sasuke about it?

"Mm… She was thinking that calling you out as a guy when you're…not any more…would begin to slowly work on your mind until you snapped…" Sasuke took in the sad expression on the normally bright face… He really missed Naruto's cheer. "She only did it because she was worried about your well-being…"

The remorseful expression gave away a little as Naruto thought about this. "So…you would have treated me more like a guy if Tsunade didn't tell you otherwise?"

Sasuke scratched the back of his head, knowing that his answer may be exactly what Naruto did not want to hear. "Not…really. I treated you like a girl because…I was afraid of how fragile you might be after everything that happened to you…then on occasion when I thought you were truly okay, I would swap over to treating you like I normally would."

This dimmed Naruto's hopes she had for the Uchiha. "Oh…," was really all she could think of to say.

"If…it enlightens you any…I would have treated you just as fragile even if you were still physically a guy…your gender change has not changed anything between us. The situation has…" He moved a tad bit closer to the female, afraid of whether this information meant anything to her or not.

"So…," Naruto shrank back as Sasuke stepped forward, "this means that you really are just…pitying me…?"

"What?" A trace of confusion filled the onyx orbs. "Where did that come from?"

This time Naruto took a step forward as she spoke and stared directly into Sasuke's face. "You practically admitted to feeling responsible for everything happening to me now! You feel horrible for what happened to me, so you're only letting me stay with you because you want to settle things with your guilty conscience!" Her chest was heaving up and down from the emotions bubbling over at this subject. Crap, she mentally said that she would not get into another argument with Sasuke, but look! It was like they were drawn together like magnets only to argue!

"…That is one reason why I decided to let you stay for however long you wanted…"

Ha! There it was. Sasuke had said it himself! He really admitted it! There was no question why Naruto was applauding herself for this feat! Got it Kyuubi? Uzumaki Naruto was right!...but after her applause died down she started feeling absolutely miserable.

Sometimes…it was not fun being right… It was like Sasuke had sent a lightning bolt straight through her heart…

"But…," the blonde, droopy head popped up a little at this one uttered word. It meant that there was more to be said, but was it worth hearing? "…resting at the top of the reasons why I was letting you stay was because…I like having you here."

"You…" Naruto brought her head up fully to stare Sasuke down. Only problem was his lack of participation. His dark orbs were focused off to the side at the table they stood close to with the bags still laying on top of it. "You really like having me around?"

Sasuke's face scrunched up as if he was angry that the bags were still sitting on the table. "I will admit that you get pretty damn annoying sometimes."

Naruto's eyebrow twitched a little to the second insult she was given, but tried to ignore her irritation to hear Sasuke's explanation.

A smile tweaked the ends of Sasuke's mouth upwards. Her expression had wavered a bit into the direction of a normal, adorably cute and aggravated Naruto. This beat the "no emotion" Naruto. She was too quirky and free spirited to behave like Sasuke, himself.

"But that is just more proof that no matter what, you are still the same Naruto I have known since we were kids…and I want to keep it that way."

This bumped the slight aggravated face out of the way by the amazingly crimson, shocked face Naruto pulled whenever Sasuke said something unexpected. He normally said things like this because he wanted to see if Naruto would award him with this expression. Right now was a win, especially since her hand gestures were slowly showing how awkward she was feeling for only wearing her jacket.

"By the way," Sasuke smirked deviously at the thought and hopes of changing the mood, "are you wearing any underwear beneath your jacket?"

This comment took his prized facial expression away from Naruto's face, but he earned another expression that pleased him just as much: heated embarrassment.

"P-p-p-pervert! That's probably all you were thinking about this whole time, isn't it?" The hand that was already pulling at the bottom of her jacket jerked it lower and she even bent over a little so that Sasuke could barely catch sight of any thigh. Her other hand was pointing at Sasuke in a very threatening way, clearly telling him to "Stay. Away."

Hm… Sasuke felt that this sort of response meant "no." If he was right he would have to restrain himself from beating the crap out of Naruto for walking outside like this…or just restrain himself. Period.

Naruto snatched at her jacket with both hands because of her unease. She did not want Sasuke seeing beneath the jacket for good reason, but Sasuke was not taking his eyes from her lower section and he was not making an effort to conceal that he was looking. Did he want to give her an examination before he was satisfied? Hell no! Naruto didn't even like the doctor giving her examinations! But it would mean something different if Sasuke did it! He didn't even have a Ph.D. to use an excuse!

"Naruto…will I have to check myself…?"

The poor blonde's face rocketed to a state beyond embarrassment. She was mortified. "Wh-wh-wh-what would cause you to b-b-be such a freak?" Naruto actually scampered a few feet.

"F-fine! Since your eyes are practically falling out of your head, I guess I will tell you!" Naruto could feel her cheeks burning and it almost hurt. "I'm…wearing underwear… Happy now?" Her face turned sour. "Or does that make you unhappy, you stupid closet pervert?"

Sasuke was taken aback—by the fact, not the insult; he was used to those, especially when they were not called out randomly by his standards. He seriously did not think that Naruto was wearing anything beneath the clothes from how she acted. "Then…why are you embarrassed?" His cheeks lost their color rather quickly. The reasons why she would feel this way made him uneasy and he could not decide whether it was for a good or bad reason.

"I knew it would be inappropriate to go outside with nothing on underneath, so I kept my underwear on from before…" Her face was still burning for having to straight out tell Sasuke.

"But why would…? "From before?" What do you mean?"

"It means," Naruto huffed angrily, "that I'm wearing the bloody underwear from this morning! There was no point in putting on a new pair if they were going to get blood on them!" She scrunched her eyes closed, feeling so stupid for being embarrassed by this, but she couldn't help it. She was bleeding from her nether region for crying out loud! That wasn't a fond topic of conversation to be had with the guy she soiled during the night! Every time she thought, blood, she would forever relive that dreadful scene of Sasuke waking up with her lying on top of him…and a blood bath between them!

Sasuke clasped a hand to his forehead. Naruto was one step away from giving him a nervous breakdown on these simple things that she blew out of proportion! He never understood girls and he never really understood everything about Naruto. This combination only made matters worse… "Baka."

Naruto heard a rustling sound and opened her eyes. One of the bags that Sasuke had brought in with him was being exchanged from the tabletop to her hand.

"That's what all of this is for. Ino made sure to inform me on…a few things about them… However, I'm not sure that what she told me would help you much…"

Naruto couldn't quite decide if the look Sasuke gave was irritated or flustered... She finally decided on a mixture of both. This subject was irritating and unnerving at times, so this made sense.

"Should I wait to change…when I get home then…?" The lighthearted moment could only last so long anyways… A simple redirection of conversation couldn't keep this from happening…

A blank slate was all Naruto was looking at. It was like a light switch. Oh, underwear: On. What? Leaving? Off. Typical guy behavior, but Sasuke was a freaking master of it and made it a hundred times more dramatic. And that was one thing Naruto could never understand…how he could drop his emotions that quickly, that easily. What was going on behind that mask? If it was a mask… What was he really thinking…?

He was a blank slate…

A blank slate with some cracks.

"Gwah! Sasuke! What are you-? S-Sasu…ke…?"

Naruto trembled slightly. Warm and almost constricting arms wrapped around her like a snake ready to feast on its prey. Shaky hands were clutching both her shoulder and waist with more force than necessary, but Naruto didn't complain about the small pain. It wasn't worth Sasuke letting go.

"Please…"

Naruto inhaled and held her breath. A cold lump formed in her throat, so she tried to swallow it, but only gained knotting her stomach up. She was feeling very sick. Sick from the way Sasuke was holding her. Sick from the way he shakily whispered—pleaded—to her. Sick from how different this was for her. Sick from knowing she truly did love him. Naruto wanted to stay with Sasuke. She wasn't sure when this change occurred. She wasn't sure that there was ever a change. When did she start feeling this way for him? Was it true? Was it sincere? Would it last? Does he feel it too?

So many thoughts and questions raced through Naruto's mind that she couldn't even pick out the tiniest thing to say to the desperate Uchiha holding her for all he was worth.

"Naruto…I need you."

And it was the truth. If Sasuke had lived in a world without Uzumaki Naruto then he surely would have died on numerous occasions. He owed everything he was now to Naruto. If she suddenly disappeared from in front of him…he might as well be gone too.

"S-Sasuke…?" A very lightheaded sensation was creeping into the blonde skull. "Are you feeling okay?" Naruto wasn't even sure of what she was saying. She was lucky words were forming and coming out of her mouth at this point. With a confession like that being made to her face—well, technically the side of her head since Sasuke was pressing his face down against her shoulder—how could she respond? Did Sasuke really want her to stay that badly…?

The raven loosened his grip on Naruto and pulled back a ways like they were attempting an awkward dance that neither one of them wanted to be a part of.

"I'm fine…" Emotion filled his onyx eyes. There was no longer any sense in hiding it after what he had said. It would only spin the little blonde's world around even more. "Don't mistake what I said for something over the line. I'm…only telling the truth…"

Naruto wanted to be doubtful. Find something hidden beneath the show of emotions and words. She wanted to dissect his words to find some meaning in them that really meant he was sending her on a wild goose chase…but she couldn't be doubtful. She couldn't question what he had said. She couldn't look into his face and believe there was anything false there…because she already believed him. How could you doubt someone if you believed in them from the start? Maybe she doubted Sasuke before…there were so many times on so many occasions…because he would never be straightforward with her. But this time things were different.

"You—" Naruto kept her eyes focused on Sasuke's as her right pointer finger lightly jabbed into the center of his chest, "—want me to stay here…with you?" She could tell this made her friend uneasy and he wanted to look away, but something was keeping his eyes steady and set on her.

Naruto held her breath while Sasuke inhaled.

"Yes."

For the first time of being around Sasuke while going through this crazy transformation…Naruto couldn't feel her heart beat. It was something completely bizarre. She didn't panic over it even though panicking would have been the first thing on her list in any other situation dealing with her heart stopping. She flinched when the first, hard thud resounded throughout her chest all at once like she just wound up in the middle of a difficult exercise. There was even a smidgen of pain.

Sasuke… is being completely sincere with me… Naruto was rendered speechless. Her brows quickly knitted together over her eyes while her face exploded in color. Why…? Naruto dipped her forehead down towards Sasuke's chest, but not quite touching since she didn't want it to be a "romantic" move.

"Uhm…are you okay, Naruto?" There were many emotions flowing through the poor Uchiha's body, the greatest one at this point being fear. Naruto couldn't possibly figure out that this all meant he saw her as more than a friend! It wasn't in Naruto's nature! But then, why? Why this? "Naruto…" He quickly, but gently pulled her chin up to force Naruto's bright blues to look him in the eyes.

The beautiful blue orbs were surrounded by a blood bath of crimson.

"Y-yeah…I'm fine actually…" she saw how Sasuke took her in and immediately had red lights flashing and "DANGER! DANGER!" shouting in the back of her head. "Y-You're just making this extreeeeemely gay is all. First the "gay proposal" and now this?" Naruto pulled from the Uchiha to make a motion with her arms. She frantically picked her brain to change this into something that did not scream 'I'm-seriously-going-ga-ga-head-over-fucking-heels-in-love-with-you'. Was it too late? Was it obvious? NO! Sasuke was not about to read her like an open copy of Icha-Icha Paradise and get all the romantic and/or dirty vibes from her. "But I get it. No one can live without Uzumaki Naruto, even the great Uchiha Sasuke." She tenderly patted Sasuke's arm and grinned, slightly red cheeks still burning.

Good God, I beg you to let me off the hook for once and not make things so embarrassing for me! My heart is secretly plotting to kill me every time this happens, I swear it! Always going Doki Doki Doki like a fucking clock on steroids!

The raven felt the very cute moment grow even more adorable as Naruto bantered on about how much everyone needed a knuckle-headed idiot in their life to be complete and how lucky he, Uchiha Sasuke, was for this very knuckle-headed idiot being in his.

Of course Naruto used a term like 'Compasionate, Future Hokage' or something similar that would always get 'lost' in Sasuke's translation of Naruto language. Eh, minor details…

Even with his translation of what Naruto was telling him there was the one detail that stayed the same…and left him smiling as the blonde rummaged through the bags, now truly curious of their contents…

Naruto is staying…


The end! jk I hope this chapter was a little fulfilling just in the fact that I haven't updated in forever. Maybe someone somewhere thought it was good. I'm sorry it was a little on the short side. I will try to make the next chapter longer!

Questions, Comments, or just feel like saying how "great" this is? Review :D

I hope I have not disappointed.

And I am Still Forever the BakaNekoSan :3