WARNING: Language. Lap Dancing. Adult themes. Sai. Bitches. Slightly lengthy. A bit angsty.


Five: A Secret Is Only Secret If One Person Knows

Shikamaru tiredly glanced around the circle that he'd been forced into and he just knew (because he could feel it and he didn't know how everyone else was able to ignore such a feeling) that this was all going to lead to a world of trouble. Truth or Dare... rarely did it ever lead to anything positive. Shikamaru knew this from personal experience. But everyone had insisted that this would be fun and already it wasn't.

And Shikamaru blamed their seating arrangements for offsetting the disaster to be. Naruto was seated between himself and Pein... and across the room from Sasuke. Not beside the boy, not near him either... across the room... Shikamaru sighed tiredly as he carefully observed the occupants of the circle.

Sasuke was covertly glaring at either Pein or Naruto (Shikamaru wasn't sure at the moment but both were likely candidates). Sakura was ever oblivious to the turmoil brewing just barely beneath the calm façade of her lover as she rambled on about nothing. Naruto was easily flirting with Pein and it sounded as if the two were on par with one another (the slight blush on Naruto's neck said that Pein was winning but only slightly). Everyone else was either lost in their own conversation or observing just as Shikamaru was and really, there was no better performance to watch than the potential one that Naruto and Sasuke would put on.

Shikamaru considered Sai the luckiest of them all. That bastard had a seat right in the middle of all the chaos.

"Alright people, lets get this ball rolling." All talking slowly ceased to be as Sai stood in the middle of the circle. "Here are the rules: I'll start us off by asking someone a truth/dare and then that person can ask someone... so on and so forth. If that person doesn't want to answer or do the task allocated to them, they can take a shot. No more than three shots in this game so use them wisely. The game ends when everyone has had a turn so, if you avoid asking one designated person, this could go on for a while. Any questions?" Sai smirked when no one came forth with a question.

"Then we'll begin with..." Dark eyes moved around the circle before landing on Sai's favorite prey. "Naruto! Give Pein a striptease."

A few people laughed at this, some simply glared, and others stared on curiously.

Naruto looked on thoughtfully, his gaze shifting from Pein to Sai and back to Pein. He was no stranger to stripping down to his skivvies during a party and he was certainly familiar with giving a lap-dance. Naruto had a feeling that it was everyone's favorite task to assign to him. And he was one hell of a dancer (it was one of the few traits that he'd picked up from hanging around a drunken Tsunade and Anko). He also liked the feeling of everyone's attention focused on him... Pein's attention focused on him...

"I'm sure you'll do fine." Pein leaned closer, his mouth ghosting along the crest of Naruto's ear. "But I can't say that I won't be tempted to bite."

Naruto smirked. Pein thought that his silence was a sign of nerves... boy did he have no idea. Being nervous was not synonymous with the name Naruto Uzumaki. "What song?" He stood and stretched a little, his cerulean eyes focused on Sai.

Sai pulled a chair into the middle of the circle before he walked back over to Ino's large entertainment system. "I'll surprise you."

Pein sat down in the chair designated for him as he stared at Naruto who stood in front of him full of confidence. And damn if Pein didn't want to devour that confident smirk set on the boy's face.

Sai dimmed the lights. "Ready?" When Naruto nodded, he started the music (and it was song truly fit for a queen).

Naruto laughed a little and rolled his eyes as Britney Spears "Gimme More" began to circulate around the room. It was so like Sai... That aside, Naruto turned his attention to Pein, blue eyes meeting an intense honey colored gaze. Plump lips twitched upwards as slender hips began to move methodically to the beat. Naruto's long fingers pinched the hem of his t-shirt as he teasingly tugged it upwards to reveal a flat tattooed stomach.

Lithe hips moved methodically from side to side, never straying from the beat, as nimble fingers eagerly tugged that t-shirt off. Plump pink lips quirked upwards as Naruto moved forwards, just close enough for Pein to reach out and graze his hip before he promptly spun away. He unbuttoned his pants as he swayed to the quick beat, his zipper following.

Intense honey hued irises followed Naruto's every movement, from the gyration of his hips to the quirking of his lips. Pein was mesmerized. He wanted nothing more than to devour that gorgeous grin lighting the other boy's face. It would be so easy to just drag Naruto into the room right across from them...

The expression on Pein's face... Naruto loved it. Thrived on it even.

A striptease... god was it fun to tease. With that thought in mind, Naruto unabashedly plopped down in Pein's lap. He was only slightly startled when strong hands grasped at his waist encouraging him to move and guiding his hips. He smiled briefly to himself as he allowed his body to move to Pein's set rhythm, their bodies melding and pressed together so intimately... it was an incredible feeling. One that Naruto thoroughly enjoyed. He was so lost in the music that it was almost too easy to ignore the obvious arousal pressed just so against his jean clad ass.

And he had to ignore it because if he didn't... well... Naruto just had to. They weren't alone. No, he was entertaining for the masses.

So many eyes were on him- on them- and Naruto thrived in the attention. That thought was enough to spur him out of Pein's tantalizing lap. With ease Naruto twisted himself off of Pein before slinking a few feet away. Once on his feet, he smirked and shimmied out of his jeans. His boxers hung loosely and bared the tempting "V" of his slim pelvis. His swaying hips were doing wonders for the imaginations of every occupant in the room.

No one set of eyes could stray from Naruto. The boy lived up to his reputation as he stole the show and made his presence known.

And just as he was making his way back to Pein's lap, the music abruptly stopped and the lights came on, breaking the sensual spell that he'd so carefully crafted.

Everyone turned to Ino who was guiltily holding the plug in her hand. "What? Someone had to do it before it turned X-rated in here." She glanced at Naruto. "Put your clothes back on." Despite her words, a deep flush covered her face and disappeared beneath her blouse. Naruto was hot... Ino knew this and seeing him like that did nothing for the woman inside of her that wouldn't mind tapping that...

"Then I'll take it that I did a good job." Naruto would pat himself on the back later because, after having a look around the room, he'd say he gave more than just Pein a strip-tease.

Pein returned to his initial seat beside Itachi, his eyes lingering on the blond conversing with his friends as he redressed. The things that he would have done to Naruto were they alone...

"You seemed like you were enjoying yourself." Itachi's face was blank and impassive as per usual, however, internally he was rejoicing.

Between the ire that his little brother was stewing in, the pleasant view he'd held from where he was seated, and the coming together of his current meddlesome plan (because Uchihas are eerily as impatient as they are patient and they want things done when they see fit), Itachi was well entertained.

Never would he have imagined that his flawless plan would come together so well. The Fates were on his side it seemed for they'd strung together a glorious string of coincidences that made it seem as if everything had fell into place of its own accord. Naruto's being lost, Pein finding the boy, Ino's party, Sasuke's presence, the beautiful show Naruto had just finished putting on... yes, the Fates definitely held him in their favor.

And Itachi couldn't have planned it better himself.

Pein smirked, his gaze briefly straying from Naruto to meet scarlet irises. "Wasn't that what you wanted. And, go figure, you were right. This won't be a waste of my time."

"Shika! Truth or dare?"

"Truth." Because, when it came to a truth or a dare from Naruto, Shikamaru found the latter option to be far too troublesome.

Blue eyes glinted beneath the room light. "Do tell the room how you honestly feel about Ino." Naruto already knew the answer to his own question but Ino was uncertain and Shikamaru was taking his sweet time telling her... he just wanted to push them along.

Just a bit.

Shikamaru frowned. He knew what Naruto was doing and he didn't hate him for it but now was not the time... "Give me a shot Sai." He preferred to keep his affairs of the heart private in a sense and he would make it up to Ino (who looked somewhat crushed by his refusal to answer).

And Naruto would pay. Yes, Shikamaru loved him like an annoying little brother of sorts but troublesome people deserved troublesome consequences.

"The first shot of the evening..." Sai happily poured the brunet's shot and watched (amazed) as it was downed no sooner than he'd removed his hand. "Aren't you just a pro at this?"

Shikamaru grunted before glancing in Sasuke's direction. He'd preemptively planned a counter-attack for his particular situation and, in retrospect, his plan wasn't too far off from Naruto's harmless intentions. "Dare or Truth Sasuke?"

A dark brow arched, the only true sign of curiosity etched on Sasuke's pristine face. "Dare." Truly, he wasn't expecting to be picked so soon and by Shikamaru of all people.

"Kiss Naruto and make it believable." Though Shikamaru knew that that wouldn't be a hard feat to achieve considering the two were just aching to step out of the friend-zone and into more dangerous territory.

They just needed the same push as he and Ino.

Following Shikamaru's dare, silence settled over the room in a piqued sort of hush. Kiba easily broke it by guffawing until his eyes watered and several others joined in. Despite the fact that she was semi-pissed at both Shikamaru and Naruto, Ino couldn't resist laughing a little. And Sakura's face only served to make her laugh harder. Hinata blushed deeply as she glanced between Naruto (who was attempting to frown and hide his uncharacteristic flush) and Sasuke (who looked rather smug as he stared across the room at the blond opposite of him) before coming to the realization that yes... those two... perhaps Neji was correct when he'd told her that she'd never have a chance.

Something about Sasuke and Naruto being together... it just seemed right.

And such a dare... it was long past due for the two to do something and nearly everyone in the room was privy to that fact. Save for perhaps the two who were supposed to act out said dare.

"Come here Naruto."

Naruto shook his head as he glared defiantly across the room. "This is your dare, not mine. You should be the one coming over here. Or just take the shot if you're too lazy." Because finding any excuse to not go through with this was at the forefront of Naruto's mind. It just wasn't... and Shikamaru... Naruto grimaced.

He'd set himself up for this.

"Fine, I'll go over there." Sasuke didn't intend to let Naruto escape after the shit he'd pulled only minutes ago. The Uchiha in him urged him to show everyone in the room just who Naruto belonged to. Almost like a dog marking his territory.

"You're actually going through with this?"

Sasuke spared Sakura a brief glance before he stood up. "I never back down from a challenge."

"Hurry up! I wanna get this over with." Naruto felt uneasy and the quicker this all ended the better he would feel.

Onyx eyes danced with amusement. "I'm sure you do."

And before Naruto could say another smartass remark, Sasuke pulled him from the ground and into a kiss.

From the instant their lips touched, Naruto's mind shut down and his instincts took full control. He wound his fingers into the fabric of Sasuke's shirt and gasped as his bottom lip was coaxed into a warm mouth. He would've jerked away, however, skilled hands held him in place before drawing him unbearably close. Naruto was trapped between strong arms and a hard chest. It was so enticing that he could barely think straight. Naruto's mind was engulfed by Sasuke.

Sasuke smirked against plush lips. He had Naruto right where he wanted him. With a well timed nip to the corner of Naruto's mouth, soon it was hanging open in a surprised gasp and he moved in for the kill. Sasuke's tongue easily pushed it's way into Naruto's pliant mouth and he took his time tasting, teasing, and memorizing every nook and contour. His actions drew out a needy mewl from the smaller male and only spurred Sasuke forth. Liquid fire coursed through Sasuke's veins as Naruto clung to him and responded just as easily as he'd dominated him. Everything about Naruto's mouth was addictive- from the taste of Naruto's trident gum to the boy's eager hot and slick tongue pushing back against his own. Naruto in general was like a drug.

And Sasuke didn't think he'd mind getting hooked.

But all too soon, the need to breath arose and the two slowly parted, each staring a bit dazedly at the other as they caught their breath. Sasuke was still holding Naruto in his arms and Naruto continued to cling to Sasuke's shirt.

At least until someone started applauding resulting in the remaining occupants of the room following suit and laughing. At that, Naruto wrenched away from Sasuke and sat in his momentarily abandoned seat (in all actuality, he fell because his knees were a bit weak but he would never admit this).

"It's about time..." Sai whistled in appreciation and stifled his need to laugh when he caught a glimpse of Sakura.

She was seething and it was written all over her beautiful face. Sai almost pitied her. Almost. But he preferred not to pity fools. And, in his personal opinion, she was a foolish individual. As opposed to her glare being directed at Naruto, perhaps it would have been better suited for the boyfriend who'd accepted such a dare. But Sasuke was never at fault in her eyes... Sai shrugged to himself before he turned his attention back to where Sasuke stood towering over a scowling Naruto.

"You're not half bad at this..." The smirk on Sasuke's face only served to further incite Naruto's ire.

Naruto furiously gazed up at the smug Uchiha in front of him before a grin blossomed on his face. "I wish I could say the same for you but... You're pretty lousy."

Before Sasuke could refute such an accusation, Sai was ushering him towards the other end of the room. "Let's give someone else a chance to have fun you two."

"Hmm... Naruto! Truth or Dare?" Emerald irises danced with amusement as Sakura stared at the smiling boy.

"What is this? Everyone Picks Naruto Day?" Honestly, he'd been at the butt of seven Dares and three Truths... not that Naruto minded but still.

"No, but you and Kiba never turn down anything so you're both easy targets. Now answer the girl or take a shot." Sai wanted so badly to know what it was Sakura was doing and he wouldn't if Naruto didn't quickly move things along.

Naruto stuck his tongue out in Sai's direction before refocusing on Sakura. "Truth."

"Did you really hook-up with Hinata and then leave right after you guys were done?"

A frown pulled at Naruto's lips as his gaze narrowed. "Sakura... that's not-"

"Not an appropriate question, huh? Then maybe I should ask if it's true that you like my boyfriend beyond his being your 'best friend'?" She maliciously. "I'm not sure which question I want to know the answer to more..."

Hinata bit her bottom lip, her face turning bright red and her eyes glistening as she stared, in shock, at her best friend. "How could you?" She didn't give Sakura or anyone a chance to say anything before she darted from the room in embarrassment and shame.

Naruto gaped for a moment, truly at a loss for words until Shikamaru nudged him and drew him back to his senses. He stood up and turned his hardened gaze towards Sakura before belatedly following after Hinata.

Everyone remaining sat in awe as they attempted to process what exactly had just taken place. For those who didn't know about Hinata and Naruto, it was now made painfully obvious. As was Sakura's jealousy when it concerned Naruto and Sasuke's relationship.

"You're a real bitch Sakura... Hinata's supposed to be your best friend and you just..." Kiba shook his head. If he were a girl- hell, if he were Hinata, he would've slapped the bitch right out of Sakura. She'd had the audacity to ask such a question with no remorse whatsoever and that wasn't cool at all.

Ino stood, her face scrunched angrily. "I don't know what the fuck you're trying to do here Sakura Haruno but you better get your shit together. What gives you the right to- to even... ugh!" She threw her hands up and turned her back to Sakura, looking at the girl was really pissing Ino off.

Sakura frowned. "I just posed two simple questions, neither of which he even had to answer. I mean, it was no different from what Naruto asked Shika or what Itachi asked Neji." She twirled her hair between her fingers, feigning innocence. "And everyone already knew about Hinata and Naruto..."

"Everyone doesn't know," Shikamaru vaguely waved his hands around the room, "because everyone wasn't meant to know."

"That's my bad then." Sakura shrugged. She didn't particularly care either way and Hinata would forgive her. That girl understood love just as she did and surely Hinata would understand why she'd done that.

But Sasuke didn't and he was irate. "We need to talk, now." Sasuke didn't give her the chance to argue her case any further as he strode down the hall to the vacant guest room, Sakura quickly following at heels.

Those who remained now wondered what to do as they spoke in hushed tones to the people nearest to them. It was obvious that Truth Or Dare was now over...

Sai laughed as he turned the lights to full power and paused next to Ino. "I told you that hag was out for Naruto's blood." He knew a scorned lover when he saw one but, that aside, he knew that Sakura was a bitch and her earlier outburst was inevitable.

Ino slapped his shoulder. "Yea, for once you were right." Aqua eyes followed Pein as he easily slipped from the room due to all of the commotion. "I'll go bring Naruto and Hina back. Hold down the fort okay?"

She wanted to make sure that those two were alright but her interest were laid in why it was the gorgeous stranger that Itachi had brought along looked like he was headed to do the same.

"Roger." Sai turned to face the room. "Who's down for some strip poker... we can throw in some money too I suppose?"

"Hina…" Naruto caught up to the sobbing girl who'd managed to make it down the block from Ino's house.

Hinata stopped and turned to properly face Naruto. "I-I'm sorry about- about Sakura. I d-didn't think she would b-be so c-cruel."

Naruto sighed and tentatively placed a hand on her shoulder. "That wasn't your fault... actually, if anyone's to blame for the shit she said, it's me." He smiled sheepishly as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and started walking again in the direction of Ino's house. "And I'm also the one who should be apologizing, not you."

"But I-"

He shook his head. "Didn't do anything. The other day... I should've properly turned you down. I'm so sorry that I lead you on and I really never intended to hurt your feelings. I don't regret what we shared because, of all the girls that I could've possibly lost my virginity, I'm glad it was you. I do regret everything that happened afterwards. I'm an asshole and I'm so sorry about all of this."

Hinata smiled meekly and sniffled. "I forgive you so long as you can do the same for me... I- there are a lot of ways that we both, perhaps, could've done things differently... and I- I'm sorry."

"You're absolutely forgiven." A grin stretched across his face as he pulled Hinata into a hug. "Does this mean that we can be friends again?"

A scarlet blush dusted ivory cheeks as Hinata smiled. "I would hope so." Things would still be a bit awkward but she would learn to work past that. She'd made a mistake but that was what youth was about: making mistakes and learning from them.

"It's good to see that you two finally made up!" Ino beamed when Naruto and Hinata's gazes snapped up to see her standing on her front step beside Pein.

Naruto frowned and rubbed the back of his neck. "How much of that did you hear?"

"Not a word. Scouts honor." Pein mocked a scouts honor and flashed a brilliant smile that caused the girls to blush.

"Since you two are alright, come back inside. I swear, Sakura won't harass you anymore and I'll make her fucking apologize or so help me." Ino was actually prepared to kick her right out of her house but she had a feeling that whatever Sasuke said or did would be enough.

Naruto released Hinata and waved his hand dismissively. "I need another minute alright, but you guys go ahead." He needed to think and clear his mind because he wasn't sure that he could face Sasuke without feeling like an idiot or look at Sakura without feeling the urge to tell her just how low she was for making her best friend upset as a means to humiliate him.

Just thinking about it pissed him off.

"Is it cool if I stay and have a smoke?"

Naruto nonchalantly shrugged as Pein seated himself on the top step.

"Then we'll see you inside..." Ino quickly ushered Hinata inside and made a mental reminder to ask Naruto for details later.

"What was that?" Sasuke tone was acidic and his gaze was frigid as he stared at Sakura.

He was livid and Sakura was slightly mortified. She had never heard or seen Sasuke so upset, not even after he beat the shit out of the bastards who picked fights with him whenever he showed up around certain parts of Oto. No memory that resurfaced at the moment discerned a time when Sasuke had been as mad as he was at current. And Sakura didn't believe that she'd done anything to warrant such a foul attitude being directed at her. Oh wait, yes she had... when it came to Naruto, Sasuke's emotions always uncharacteristically surfaced. She highly doubted that he even noticed how much he didn't behave like himself (or an Uchiha for that matter) when it came to that bumbling blond idiot.

Jade irises narrowed as Sakura glared at her boyfriend. How dare he be so upset and over Naruto- fucking Naruto of all people... She hated him and Sasuke's defending him pissed her off immensely. "I didn't do anything wrong. If anything, what the fuck was that you pulled earlier? You kissed him, Sasuke. Kissed! And you damn sure weren't hiding the fact that you enjoyed it." She truly didn't want to believe that but how could she not. He'd never kissed her like that.

Or maybe it was all Naruto... Naruto had a way of screwing with their relationship and Sakura didn't understand it.

"I kissed Naruto, you kissed Ino, we're even in that regard. That aside, I'm over you taking your insecurities out on Naruto. He has nothing to do with us, absolutely nothing. I was with you, I considered you my lover, not him, but you can't seem to wrap your head around that. And I'm over it." Sasuke sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Their breakup was a long time in coming and it was pointless to keep at it.

He'd wanted to try, at least to prove a point to himself but it wasn't worth it. He was fed up with her and her always dragging Naruto into shit that had nothing to do with him. It wasn't fair and, at the very least, Sasuke knew the loyalty of being a best friend.

"What? Are you being serious?" Sakura stared at Sasuke, eyes wide and glistening. Was he really trying to break things off over a few questions asked during a truth or dare game? "Tell me you're just mad. Tell me that you're not trying to end everything that we've built over a stupid fucking basement game."

"Sakura..." Sasuke sat on the edge of the dresser and stared ahead, his eyes meeting hers. "We don't work. Never have. I'm actually surprised we made it this far. I'm sorry we wasted so much time in this but its done." He'd said it as gently as possible because he owed her that much but the truth was never a nice thing to hear in situations such as hers.

Sakura stalked forward, stopping when she stood directly in front of Sasuke. "Are you telling me that everything we talked about earlier, everything we've ever done up until this point, has never worked for you?"

"I am." He'd had fun, he'd even enjoyed her company when she wasn't pushing her insecurities and jealousy issues onto him. But he didn't have feelings for her, not the ones she wanted.

Plus, there was Naruto...

With little thought on the matter, Sakura drew her hand back and slapped Sasuke with all of her might. "You bastard!" She watched in mute fascination as his head whipped to the right. "All of this time and you... you're such an asshole." Sakura crumpled to the floor, tears trailing down her face as she sat there heart broken.

Sasuke winced and rubbed held his cheek. "I'm sor-"

"Just get the fuck out." Sakura didn't want to hear anymore. She didn't want to see him. She certainly didn't want his pity. Her mind, body, and soul were in disarray and she just... she couldn't take it because she still loved him so much.

It hurt.

Sasuke silently moved from the dresser and over to the door sparing her one last glance. He'd dated plenty of women and a few men but Sakura was the first he'd truly felt some remorse about. She wasn't a bad girlfriend and in a different lifetime, maybe one without Naruto, she would've been perfect for him.

It was too bad she'd never know that.

Naruto openly stared at Pein as the older man smoked his cigarette. Despite his emotional state, a nagging voice at the back of his mind sorely wished to be that cigarette as pale lips wrapped around the filter. He mentally sighed as his gaze drifted to skyward.


Why did he have a kink for delinquents?

Sasuke had started that trend of attraction and it'd stuck. Naruto hated him for it because the bad boys were the first to break hearts. Even knowing that, there was something about Pein, something that he was irrevocably drawn to... ah, the man's charisma. He'd only spoken to him a handful of times throughout the day but they had chemistry and every conversation he learned a bit more.

Pein was an intelligent guy with the wit and charm to back it (which reminded Naruto of both Shikamaru and Sasuke).

He was intimidating yet there was a certain degree of underlying softness that was inviting when he wanted it to be (which were qualities that Naruto had always admired in both Neji and Gaara).

And a certain air of mystery and cunning surrounded the man, which, subsequently drew in the masses (much like Itachi).

Naruto blinked... was he attracted to Pein simply because the man shared likeness to those closest to him? Naruto frowned. How had his time to think about Sasuke and Hinata turned into the Pein wonder hour? The guy was a distraction.

"You wanna go for a walk?" Pein's gorgeous amber eyes swirled with amusement as he stared at Naruto.

Naruto stood and stretched, unaware of the eyes trained on his midsection. "Sure..." He set the pace, leisurely walking down the sidewalk with Pein beside him. It was a gorgeous night and he could see the stars for a change. Staring at the vast sky helped to ease his mind and reminded him that the world was so much bigger than his trivial social concerns.

It was a comforting thought.

"I never pegged you as the quiet type."

"Yea, well... I have my moments." Naruto would've blamed Sakura but at least one good thing had come out of her bitch fit: he'd made up with Hinata.

Pein nodded and tossed aside the bud of his cigarette. "Would it be rude if I asked if any of that shit Sasuke's girl said back there was true?"

Naruto smirked. "Depends. Why are you asking?"

A smirk tugged at Pein's lips as he stopped walking and stared at Naruto. "Well, if you're in love with Itachi's kid brother then my chances with you go to shit and that'd just be disappointing."

Wow... Naruto was a bit taken aback by the man's honesty but he was fully flattered that he wasn't the only one feeling a spark for a change. "All of the bullshit concerning Sasuke is complicated but I've never let how I do or don't feel about him screw around with my personal relationships."

"Is that so." It was more of a statement than a question, both of them knew as much. "Then I'll say it clearly, you're my type and I'd like to take your mind off of Itachi's kid brother for a while."

The shit-eating grin that settled onto Naruto's face was dazzling. "You've been doing a good job of that so far."

Pein smiled wickedly as he moved forward, his hand catching Naruto's chin. "Lets see how long I can keep at it then."

Naruto welcomed Pein's lips as he was pulled forward into a rather sweet kiss. His whole body jolted to life and tingled the instant Pein's lips touched his. And when the man pulled away only to then press their foreheads together, Naruto's heart picked up speed.

A part of him felt guilty, like he was betraying his feelings for Sasuke, which wasn't fair to Pein. Wasn't it wrong to instigate any type of an intimate relationship with Pein (or anyone else for that matter) when he was in love with Sasuke? But he was attracted to the man tenderly staring at him and their chemistry was incredible... so why not consider dating a stranger? Why not try to move on? Sasuke already belonged to someone else and seeing as Naruto had no intentions of breaking that up, why should he torture himself with one-sided feelings?

He couldn't wait for Sasuke forever and it was time he stopped that vicious waiting cycle.

"You're still going strong." Naruto's voice was soft and held a sensual lit as it filled the space between them and caressed Pein's lips.

Pein smiled.

"Where's Naruto?" Sasuke stopped beside the table where a great deal of the parties occupants sat.

Most of them nearly naked. With Itachi, Shikamaru, Gaara, and Neji in the game, everyone else had lost long before they'd begun. Ino looked cold sitting there in nothing but a bra and her thong. Kiba looked plastered and was down to his boxers. Sai just looked... like Sai: suspicious and perverted. Sasori seemed to be holding his own as he ignored Deidara who was liesurely sucking on his neck. And Hinata looked like a deer caught in the headlights wearing Neji's t-shirt as Hidan shamelessly hit on her. But, what stood out more than any of those things was Naruto's absence.

Were he present, the game would've long been over. Naruto was an undercover poker genius.

"He's outside somewhere with Pein." Ino smirked dubiously at the expression that briefly crossed Sauske's face. Served him right for taking his sweet time.

Before the snide comment sitting at the tip of Sasuke's tongue could be uttered, in walked Naruto who seemed rather comfortable with Pein's arm around his shoulders and a smile on his face.

"Eh? Did you assholes start without me because you were afraid I'd own you all in poker?"

"You think you'd beat me?"

Naruto smirked and walked towards the table, Pein trailing just so behind him. "Deal us in."

Sasuke watched the exchange between the two (from their body language to their tones) and it was made painfully obvious that his window to lay claim to Naruto had finally closed.

And Sasuke wasn't the only one who'd noted the shift in the behavior of the two who'd just rejoined the party.

"How troublesome..." Shikamaru lightly shook his head and glanced at his hand. He'd already assumed that something so cliché would happen and, low and behold, there it was in the form of Pein and Naruto.

"Would you like to play as well little brother?" Onyx irises studied Sasuke and Itachi was pleased.

His brother was seething and though his face portrayed nothing, his gaze spoke in volumes. It was an Uchiha trait to convey a message via one glance and Sasuke was able to do so expertly. Itachi was proud- he'd taught Sasuke well. That aside, everything was going smoothly- plan wise. Itachi had set out to teach his darling brother an important life lesson: fate was a bitter bitch that waited for no one. It would serve Sasuke well to remember that and what better way to place emphasis on an important life lesson than using the love of one's life? Itachi certainly couldn't think of another way.

"I'll play." Sasuke took a seat right across from Naruto, who smiled at him.

"You've never beat me Sasuke."

Sasuke smirked but it held no amusement. "Never say never." He mentally berated himself as he remembered a key fact: he was an Uchiha and Uchiha's didn't give up simply because they failed once.

Failure was not an option and Pein was but a momentary obstacle, much like Sakura.

And much like Sakura, it would pass.

"I'm going to bed but you can come up when your done if you want to Naru. Good luck!" Ino kissed Naruto's cheek before making her way to the stairs.

She was the last remaining onlooker of what a drunken Lee had dubbed "The Poker Game of Epic Proportions". Everyone else had either drunkenly passed out, went to bed, or had fallen asleep watching. Or, in the case of Hinata and Shikamaru, they'd gracefully bowed out of the game in favor of going elsewhere on account of the suffocating ill-intent radiating from Sauske. How he was still so pissed after drinking so much, no one was sure. But all that remained in the game were Sasuke, Naruto, Itachi, and Pein...

"Take that bitches, royal flush!" Naruto wolfishly grinned as he pulled all of the chips in the middle of the table towards his growing pile.

"My, my... you've beaten me yet again. I suppose it was inevitable." Itachi stood from the table and paused beside Naruto, his hand resting on the boy's shoulder. "Give them hell Naruto." He winked and headed upstairs. Though Itachi would have enjoyed watching the coming show, it wouldn't occur if he were present.

What a shame.

"And then there were three." The tips of Pein's fingers brushed over Naruto's hand as he passed him the cards.

"Will you just deal the fucking cards already." Sasuke was irritated. No, scratch that. He was pissed the fuck off, tipsy, and felt a strong desire to smash his fist into the side of Pein's face. All night long he'd had to sit and watch as Naruto and Pein sat across from him flirting and coyly touching one another... and with every passing minute of watching them fuck around, Sasuke's agitation mounted.

Naruto scoffed. "What? Is it that time of the month for you already bastard? You mad bro? You mad?" He laughed to himself when Sasuke frowned. There was one thing that he'd always enjoyed about a sloshed Sasuke: the fact that he emoted all over the place. It was such a rare thing for an Uchiha to be so... expressive. Usually Sasuke was pretty funny, easily irritable, and quick witted... being visibly pissed was new but still interesting to see.

Sasuke emoting... it was one of many things that Naruto liked about Sasuke in general.

"Fuck off..."

Naruto laughed. "You mad bro. It's cool." He picked up his cards and inwardly smirked as he surveyed the other two. Pein's bridge piercing twitched, which meant his hand was shit but he'd play it like it wasn't. Sasuke's dark eyes moved slightly left, then right, and left again... he had, at most, two good cards to show for.

What people seemed to forget when it came to Naruto was the fact that he was actually very observant. It was their miscalculation and he was always able to use that to his advantage. And what better place for Naruto to exercise such a skill than in a friendly game of poker (with a winning pot of $600).

"All in." Pein pushed forth his remaining chips.

"Fold." Sasuke knew without a doubt that Naruto was about to wipe Pein out and that worked in his favor. At least, if luck decided to be on his side.

"All in it is." Naruto smiled. "What d'ya got?"

"Two pair, 8s and Jacks."

"Ah..." Naruto laid his cards flat and slid his hand over to reveal his win. "Full house."

Pein raised a pierced brow, his interest entirely piqued. He'd just lost in poker... well, there was a first time for everything. And damn it if it didn't make him want to keep Naruto. "Itachi said you were a poker tycoon but I didn't believe him." He pushed away from the table and prepared to leave but not before properly parting ways. He leaned on the table beside Naruto and pushed aside thick blond bangs. "Call me tomorrow." He kissed the side of that teasing neck and was tempted to go further... very tempted.

Naruto tilted his head a bit to accommodate Pein. "Alright. Night." He placed a quick kiss to Pein's cheek before the man left. To the world, Naruto would seem rather nonchalant about everything that had just transpired between he and Pein, however, they both knew otherwise. His stomach was fluttering and his flattery meter was off the charts.

Exploring a new relationship was always an exciting thing and Naruto was no exception to that.

"Are you going to deal the fucking cards or are you going to sit there all night looking like a dumb ass because some jackass paid attention to you."

That was enough to bring Naruto back to reality. Cobalt irises narrowed dangerously. "You know, I'm pretty good when it comes to you being a bitch but you're pushing the limits of my ignore-the-dick-across-from-me tolerance." Maybe Sauske needed to get laid... speaking of getting laid, where was Sakura to fix that problem? "Did Sakura go home?"

"No. She's down the hall, probably asleep. We broke up."

Naruto winced at that. "Fuck... Sorry man. I- If it's because of what happened earlier-"

Sasuke scoffed. "It was an accumulation of a lot of bullshit, her issues with you among them." He shrugged. "But I guess it didn't really matter in the end, huh?"

A blond brow rose. "I'm not following..." Naruto felt like he was missing something. He felt bad that he was one of the reasons his best friend had parted ways with his girlfriend (and he'd feel worse the following day when his anger towards Sakura was long gone) but there was something about the way Sasuke had said all of that that confused him. "Why wouldn't it matter?"

"Because you couldn't just fucking wait for me could you?" Sasuke stood so abruptly, the table toppled over. He was still tipsy but damn it if he wasn't feeling a bit spiteful.

No sooner had he broken up with Sakura had Naruto ended up with someone else and he wanted to blame everyone but himself. But mostly he wanted to blame Naruto.

"Seriously Sasuke? Do you really wanna go there right now bastard?" Naruto let out a humorless chuckle as he too stood and ran a hand down his face. "What the fuck is your problem?" Because Naruto couldn't even begin to fathom why it hurt so much to know that Sasuke wanted him to wait for him.

To wait for him... that implied that he knew- had always known about his feelings but he'd... His chest hurt. He loved Sasuke. Loved him. Not in the platonic friend sort of way. Not in a brotherly fashion. Not even that fleeting puppy love that was reserved for hormonal teens. No, Naruto held a gut wrentching, soul yearning, passion for Sasuke that devoured him from the inside out. He could name all of the things that he loved and disliked about Sasuke. Even things that he didn't like he could sitll say that he loved those parts of Sasuke too. And yet, here Sasuke stood admitting that he knew and still he'd let him suffer through it all alone.

And for what?

Naruto honestly wanted to know. Why now? Why the sudden... He almost laughed again as his stomach clenched painfully and realization dawned on him. Sasuke wanted him... but only because Pein did. Old toy syndrome... Sasuke didn't want him because he liked him, no, he wanted him because someone else did. It all made so much sense now.

But that only made everything hurt so much more.

And confirmed that Sasuke was a selfish bastard, drunk or not.

Sasuke, who was completely dubious to Naruto's inner thoughts, stalked forth and grabbed the collar of Naruto's shirt. "You don't understand anything."

Before Naruto could register what was happening, Sasuke's lips were on his. And he felt repulsed, angry, hurt, wounded, vulnerable... with all of those negative emotions churning inside of him, Naruto pushed Sasuke away from him. "Don't you fucking touch me you bipolar asshole."

Sasuke pushed a hand through his hair before he focused his pitiless gaze on Naruto. "Don't touch you? Isn't this what you wanted?" He knew that everything spilling from his mouth- none of it was right and what he wanted to say wouldn't leave his tongue. Sasuke would regret it all but he couldn't stop himself. The prospect of losing Naruto to Pein (to anyone really) he couldn't imagine it. He couldn't entertain the idea of a life without Naruto in it. "You didn't deny liking me when Sakura asked and yet, now that I'm not with her, you don't care?" Sasuke scoffed. "And all because of that bastard Yahiko? He'll get over it if you end shit now because I can guarantee you that you're just another fuck-" Sasuke didn't get the cance to finish that sentence on account of Naruto's' fist firmly connecting with the right side of his jaw.

"Who the hell are you?" Naruto glared down at Sasuke's slumped form as he unconsciously massaged his fist. He was so angry and he was in pain both mentally and physically... Furthermore, he had no idea who the bastard cradling his head on the floor in front of him was because it certainly wasn't the Sasuke that he knew. "I don't know and, quite frankly, I don't really give a damn about where all of this shit is coming from but leave me the fuck out of it." Naruto stepped over Sasuke and made his way upstairs towards Ino's room. He couldn't think straight and he hurt in an unfamiliar way.

He felt betrayed. And to be betrayed by Sasuke, by his best friend, his rival, his partner in crime, the man he loved... words couldn't begin to describe the way he felt.

"Fuck…" Sasuke stood up and glared at nothing in particular. He'd royally fucked up and did the complete opposite of what it was he'd initially intended to do. To top it all off, he felt like he was going to be sick.

What a perfect night.

"What's the deal Itachi?" Shikamaru blew out a long stream of smoke as he glanced at the eldest Uchiha heir.

Itachi shrugged. "That depends upon what you're insinuating, don't you think so Shika?" He lit his own cigarette before resuming his study of Shikamaru's handsome face. The boy was a constant reminder that Naruto and Sasuke did indeed have intelligent friends. But it mattered not because Itachi knew with absolute certainty that he was both wiser and smarter.

"Pein... he's your's right?"

Ah... Itachi had been caught. Well, not really. He'd thought that Pein being under his command wasn't much of a secret- to which he was also right. Still...

"Don't misconstrue my intentions. I want both Naruto and Sasuke to be as happy as possible but Sasuke is a bit inept when it concerns affairs of the heart as well as a few other minor lessons that we all need to learn in life. And I, as his older brother, I take full responsibility in teaching him these things." He took much joy in torturing his stubborn younger brother during said lessons but it was to be expected. He couldn't very well be bored whilst teaching.

"And Pein's role?"

"A pawn needed to cease Naruto and Sasuke's stalemate. At least he was... I think he's taken a true romantic interest of sorts in Naruto." Which was a factor Itachi had prepared for so he wasn't worried. It paid to be both twenty steps ahead and behind one's foe. "But this is for their own good and they'll- well, Sasuke will thank me later."

Shikamaru caught the 'do not tell Naruto' subtext. "Damn..." As much as he disliked Itachi's methods or Itachi in general, Shikamaru couldn't deny that the man was right. Sasuke and Naruto needed a push in the right direction but... still... Itachi's game was risky.

He didn't have full control of his pieces and it could all end unexpectedly if he wasn't careful.

Itachi tsked as he let his cigarette dangle between his fingers. "You have no faith in me."

Shikamaru snubbed out his cigarette and stood. "Whether or not I have faith in you is irrelevant."

"You ready?"

Shikamaru cast Pein a sideways glance as he stepped outside. There was something about the guy that he didn't like... it was mostly the fact that Pein was one of Itachi's friends and Shikamaru knew what type of friends Itachi kept. "I'm going to say this and I'm only going to say it once. If either you end up hurting Naruto, I will personally fuck up your life." There was a special place in Shikamaru's heart that belonged to Naruto alone and he wouldn't stand for seeing the boy hurt on account of Itachi's whims.

Or anyone else's for that matter.

Pein cocked an eyebrow as he stared between Itachi and Shikamaru. "Contrary to whatever this bastard's told you, you have nothing to worry about where it concerns me." He could respect a kid for defending the honor of their friend but really, he hadn't pinned Shikamaru as the type. "But you seem like a smart kid, so I'll hold you to that threat." He nodded at Itachi, incline his head in the direction of his car.

"I'll see you at another time then." Itachi held up a hand in passing.

Shikamaru watched as the two left. He didn't believe neither Itachi nor Pein so he would just place all of his faith in Naruto. That boy had a way with miracles.

"Why the hell are you being so damn loud?" Ino rubbed her eyes irritably as she tried to focus on the boy noisily moving around her room. She'd been asleep prior to him entering so she fully expected him to have a damn good excuse for waking her up.

Naruto paused in taking off his shirt to stare at Ino. "Sasuke is an insensitive prick." Which was an understatement in comparison to everything else Naruto wanted to say about Sasuke but it summed it all up for the time being.

"Tell me something that I didn't know already..." She rolled her eyes as she sat up and turned on the lamp beside her bed. "What happened after I left?" Ino was tired but Naruto... he didn't look good.

He looked crushed.

Naruto pushed a hand through thick blond tresses before he sat at the edge of her bed. "Sasuke... that bastard knew how I felt about him and he... he was expecting me to just wait until he was done doing whatever the fuck it was he does."

Ino frowned. "Are you sure..." Because she hoped to god that he wasn't.

"He said it from his own mouth Ino. So yea, I'm pretty fucking sure." Naruto sighed and buried his face in the palms of his hands. "Sorry... sorry... I just... why does that hurt? Why does knowing that hurt so much?" He felt heartbroken.

"Wait... tell me everything that happened. Start from the beginning." Because Ino had a gut feeling that Naruto was missing something or had misinterpreted something... or so she hoped.

So Naruto told her about everything that had happened, from start to finish. He told her about poker, about their playful banter, about Sasuke's being drunk, about their argument, about his punching Sasuke... Dear god... he'd hit Sasuke. He'd actually been so mad that he'd lost control and hit the bastard. Granted it was deserved, it wasn't something that Naruto would usually do. Ugh...

Only Sasuke could provoke him in such a way, which was ironic simply because that was one of the reasons he loved him.

Ino fully sat up and turned on the lamp beside her bed. "So lemme see if I'm following. Sasuke broke up with Sakura?"


"Which brings me back to what happened earlier. Did you really sleep with Hinata?"

Naruto sighed and rubbed the nape of his neck. "I did but, that was an accident... I didn't mean to-"

Ino waved her hand dismissively. "I don't really care, I mean, I do. But only because Sakura knew something about you that I didn't." Which slightly ticked her off but it couldn't be helped. "But it's fine, I get it. Now, did Sasuke tell you why he broke up with Sakura?"

"No... we didn't get that far because he was being an asshole. I told you he said some shit about me liking him and how I wasn't taking advantage of a prime opportunity... something to that affect." Naruto frowned at the memory.

Ino smiled softly as she slid to the edge of the bed near Naruto and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. Boys... they were so clueless when it came to love. Ino knew that Sasuke was in love with Naruto and vice versa but neither of them knew how to go about reaching the next step. And it was a tricky thing, stepping over that friend line. The other side of the proverbial line was unknown territory which was scary. There was the possibility that the relationship wouldn't work out and if that happened, there was an even higher probability that the original friendship couldn't be salvaged.

On another note entirely, Sasuke probably had good intentions, however, drunk or not, he'd said all of the wrong things and in the wrong way. H'd have Naruto's ass to kiss for quite some time and Naruto certainly knew how to hold a grudge against him in particular. Still... she didn't think that Sasuke knew anything about Naruto's affection towards him. She was pretty positive that he was referring to his own, personal situation. He was selfish and he'd probably assumed that Naruto would always just be there whenever he found the balls to make a move.

"You know what the worst thing about all of this is?"

Ino stared at Naruto throught their reflections in the mirror on her bedroom wall. "What?"

"He only wants me because Pein does. That selfish bastard... he... I know I'm about to sound like a whiny bitch but he hurt my feelings. Like, in the most literal sense of that figurative expression, Sasuke hurt my feelings."

Ino noted how crushed Naruto looked and she cooed before she pulled him to her bosom like any other respective mother (substitute) would. "I know he did but I don't think it was intentional. Sasuke just doesn't know how to express that sort of thing... never has." Because everyone knew his track record.

"Not intentional... He's had forever to-"

"So have you. But you're both idiots. Sasuke loves you Naruto and he always has, he just didn't realize it until recently. The same could be said for you. But it's a scary thing, making the transition from friends to lovers. No one knows what to expect when breaching that barrier and the both of you are no different. You've tip-toed around this matter for years now and no one blames you. The unknown is a frightening thing." Ino knew this better than anyone else. "The real question is, what do you want to do?"

What did he want? Naruto frowned. "I don't want to just jump into anything with that bastard. It'd be like rewarding him when he didn't do anything to deserve and I don't think he knows what it is he's asking for or wants from me. He'd need to prove that he was serious because this isn't a game or a whim to me." Naruto now knew to some extent that Sasuke wasn't opposed to being with him but that didn't mean that they should be in a relationship just because it was known that their feelings were mutual.

Everything that had happened that night was proof that they couldn't just be in a relationship.

Things didn't work like that.

Naruto knew Sasuke better than most anyone else and because of this, he knew that Sasuke just expected things to happen when he wanted them to. But life didn't work like that. People didn't work like that. Sasuke was selfish and spoiled to a certain degree. Naruto wasn't going to perpetuate that side of Sasuke, not this time. His love wasn't a game or a whim, it was real.

He wouldn't risk ruining their friendship for a romantic relationship that he would possibly regret at some point.

Nothing was worth that.

If Sasuke really wanted him as a lover of any kind, he'd have to somehow show or prove to Naruto that he wasn't fucking around because Naruto knew that, without a doubt, if their relationship were to fail, there was no going back to being friends. And he would be sure to tell Sasuke as much the next time he saw him.

"Sounds fair enough. Do you feel better now?"

Naruto nodded awkwardly against Ino's bosom. "Yea. Thanks Ino." He actual felt worlds better now that his mind was clear. Only a woman's touch could have that type of effect and Naruto was grateful.

Were it not for Ino, he and Sasuke wouldn't have been talking anytime soon.

"I'm glad." Ino pulled Naruto backwards onto the mattress with her. "Now tell me all about Pein! I needs to know!"

Naruto smirked. "Well..."


A/N: Okay... where to start... I'll probably start here with these two really awesome unsigned reviews from Anon and Iliketrains that spurred and fully ignited my inspiration so that I could quickly complete the chapter:

"ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) Y U NO UPDATE IN ONE YEAR? I thought you said it wouldn't take you nearly a year. It's already 2012! We're all going to die before you even update which is really depressing. Please update 'cause you gots a lot of people waiting."

"What! No update? It's been like what... a month ?I thought you said it wouldn't take as nearly as long as a year (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻ ... I mean yeah you probably have finals but stilll update pleaaaassseeee"

I'm hardcore addicted to Tumblr and it's many memes (the link to my tumblr is my homepage if you're curious but it's just filled with yaoi) so these particular reviews tickled my Tumblr kink so yes... I love you random anon and Iliketrains. Which isn't to say that I don't love the rest of you. I just love people who bring Tumblr into my life outside of the Tumblr domain even more. Yep...

Anywho, this chapter was a bitch. It's supper long, nearly entirely written from scratch, and filled with all kinds of things that I wrote and re-wrote until it was perfect. I've been working on it for 12 hours straight (not to say that I didn't touch prior to that) after not sleeping for 26 but, when inspiration hits, you just have to roll with it.

With that, I hope you've enjoyed this long chapter. Seriously, it's way longer than any of the other chapters but I wanted to wrap up this one night... couldn't drag it on in another chapter because that'd be ridiculous and one note-esque.

Sai: I know he's totally OOC but I needed a character like him and he was the only one I saw fit to take the role so... yep. I know he's not himself.

FUN FACT: For those of you who read the first version of this story, I wonder if you can tell that I've combined several chapters of the original into one chapter for every new chapter thus far. If you can't then I'll let you know that, technically, we just ended chapter eight of the old story. And that all sounded like some elaborate riddle.

FUN FACT II: Everything up until now... took place in the span of three days. That's right. I read over chapters 1-4 again and realized that these chapters go from Friday (when Naruto hooked up with Hinata) to Sunday (currently the day of the slumber party).

Anyway... everyone sans those mentioned below can skip this part but I'd feel bad if I didn't respond to these lengthy unsigned reviews considering I respond to all of the signed ones.

Thanks for the unsigned reviews: Tessss (Sadly it's not but you'll have your fair share, I promise), MrsUchihaClan (your wish was granted btw), and of course Anon and Iliketrains.

Alara Phoenix: Look, look, I updated! Does this make you happy? I hope so. Also, I loved the book you wrote me. Thank you ^u^

_ (12/3/2011): OMJay-Z I hope your throat is okay! I have those moments too... and my mom does the same. Hahahaha of Anon who kicked me into shape! I appreciate you so much... are you by chance the anon again mentioned above? Because, if so, you did it once again! Thank you ^u^

sephshallcountthepenises: Did I update fast enough for you hmm? Thank you for lurking and reviewing! I always love it when I get a lurker review. Makes me feel some kind of special.

Dareaholic: You were so close... twas Pein who got the lap dance but Sasuke got the kiss!

33dragonlily33: I'm glad you love me still, despite my slowness in completing this thing. It's a beast, let me tell you. But I did better than last time right? Right? ^u^

So if you dug it, drop me a line.