Epilogue: Follow The Red String

Title: If Only
Author: myfailsafe (But please… call me Nevi.)
Pairings: Sasu/Naru/Sasu
Rating: I have know clue... K+? Maybe?
Warnings: Complete and utter fluff, just as I intended.
Summary: Naruto catches pneumonia, and is blessed with Sasuke being his doctor. Instantly being attracted to the stoic man, Naruto plays hooky to continue to see him. But some things don't always work as you plan.
Dedication: Who stuck with this fiction from when I originally thought of it a long, long time ago. Thanks, and cheers to the next finished fiction.
Disclaimer: I still don't own it.
Authors Notes: We are officially finished, and I thank you all. Curtain call.

Epilogue: Follow The Red String

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,
regardless of time, place, or circumstance.
The thread may stretch or tangle,
but it will never break."
- an ancient Chinese belief

Naruto rolled over in his bed, smacking the warm empty side of the bed beside him in hopes to find a person, but was met with disappointment. The blonde raised his head with his hair in its regularly messy position and his face screwed up in confused.

Naruto rubbed his eyes with his free left hand trying to rid away the blurred vision from his waking slumber to try and check the time on the bedside table, but was greeted with a string attached to his finger. Naruto yanked away his hand from his face to glare at the tiny bright red thread in utter confusion. The blonde rolled over on his back to free his other arm and hand so he could remove the suddenly annoying object, but suddenly realized – as all the fog of sleep had left him – that there was a note attached just below his hand on the thread.

Naruto yanked the small slip of paper off in hopes the thread would rip, but he head the paper rip instead, and he felt his mouth fall into a frown.
Naruto opened the note to be met with Sasuke's neat scrawl,

'Follow Me.'

Naruto looked back towards the bedside table to glace at the clock; Sasuke should have been at work for three hours now and Naruto himself had to be in at one in the afternoon.
Naruto shrugged against his pillow thinking it was probably something downstairs, like Sasuke skipping work again so they could go on a date. The blonde rolled his bright blue eyes as his heart jumped in his chest absolutely loving the side of Sasuke no one knew existed – it enthralled him. Naruto rolled out of bed, rolling over Sasuke's side as custom, and cringed when his bare feet met the cold hardwood floor. Naruto shivered and jumped back into bed, wishing his robe would instantly fly to him and damning himself for the habit of sleeping in his boxers.

The blonde male rolled himself over twice, instantly turning the covers into a cocoon while leaving his hand exposed so as to not lose his new mystery trail. Naruto was instantly met with his robe laid across his usually empty bedside table, another note gently folded across it.

Naruto's free tan hand quickly shot out from underneath the giant comforter to grab the small piece of paper already knowing whose writing would be tucked inside.

'Get up, NOW.'

A small chuckled escaped the blondes lips at the written command, wondering absently what would happen if he might disobey. Naruto's blue eyes rolled just as his body did, once again being careful of the tiny minuscule thread as he ripped back the sheets and jumped up to grab his robe. Naruto slid in his long, slender right arm quickly relishing in the warmth of the fleece robe before he paused as he stared back down at his left hand with a glare that mirrored Sasuke's.

Naruto lightly pulled the thread that looped around his finger off gently, quickly shoving his left arm through the limp sleeve, and then struggle to replace the string on his finger – seven minutes if his clock wasn't playing tricks on him.

The blonde let a relived sigh escape his lips after putting on a thick pair of socks that were left under the robe and mentally noted to thank Sasuke for thinking of everything.
Naruto finally made his way out of his room, gathering the thin thread as he went – pulling it up into his left hand while blindly feeling around with his right – mentally noting to punch Sasuke for using such a thin thread.

Blue eyes landed on yet another note attached to the thread as he reeled it in, and in his eagerness and haste, promptly ripped it off and unfolded it.

Do you remember when we first met?'

Naruto instantly recalled the somewhat odd obsession with his gorgeous doctor and the obscene lengths he went to in order to see him. Though, the first encounter was still but a flicker, Naruto's memory having been mostly burned up from the fever, as he remembered the pneumonia incident. When Naruto would ponder back on it, he could instantly hear Sakura's demands to go to the doctor, and without his overly pushy roommate, he wouldn't have been fated with such a thing. Sure, Naruto could only remember tiny bits and pieces, but each where a part of their beginning, and without a beginning, you have absolutely nothing.

Naruto smiled lightly, not understanding where Sasuke was exactly going with this whole scenario, but lightly folding the piece of paper and tucked away in his pocket. Naruto proceeded down the long narrow hallway, already spotting the next paper and quickening his paces, reeling it in, and ripping it open.

Do you remember our first kiss?'

The blonde clearly felt his eyebrows draw together at such an odd and out-of-the-blue question, but none-the-less, he remembered it vividly. It was four years ago to this very day, outside of Naruto's old townhouse. The blonde remembered pursuing Sasuke, waiting outside of his work, and actually arguing with him about going out to eat. At the end of the night, it turned into an awkward turn of events – both admitting their true feelings.

The kiss, Naruto remembered, was simply amazing; that is till his two roommates and two best friends' crashed the party. Naruto pressed his index finger and thumb on his eyes at the suppressed memory. The four of them having been pressed up against the glass watching intently, and after giving the two of them a moment to kiss, immediately burst through the door with choruses of 'I knew it' and 'who knew'. Aside the fact that Naruto wanted to kill four people that night, he never forgot the first kiss shared between them. It was unforgettable. Sasuke should know that.

'Keep going.'

Naruto shrugged slightly, even though he expected some type of comment or another, but just enjoyed something to do while he was stuck in the house by himself. The blonde rounded the corner of the hallway before the steps and found another piece of paper and quickly scooped it up.

Do you remember our first official date?'

The blonde audibly groaned as the embarrassing memories flooded him like a broken water main. He remembered it alright. Sasuke and himself were dating secretly for two months – it being completely Naruto's idea – when Sasuke wanted to treat Naruto to an actual date. The blonde, never having been on a real date before, made too many mistakes for himself to recall.

Sure, it was out of sheer nervousness that he panicked when Sasuke originally asked him, and called him an idiot, but Naruto whet above and beyond to hide their relationship so Sasuke could keep his job. Then, Naruto had put on his shirt backwards and forgot to button and zip up his pants, which left him to protesting the date for two hours in his bathroom; Hinata and Sakura helping Sasuke to coax him out. When they finally got to the restaurant, Naruto found out they were late for the reservation – which he didn't realize it was that type of place, and felt like a jerk. Naruto then proceeded to manage to spill wine, steak sauce, and ice cream on the ever cool Sasuke; Naruto wanting to die with each passing moment.

They ended up having to rent a movie instead of catching one due to their tardiness and now Sasuke's wrecked attire. In the video store, Naruto had managed to knock down a stack of movies when the raven swiftly kissed him on the cheek, and the first public display of affection caused the blonde to lose any balance he had remaining.
It was a long night for Naruto, only to fall asleep as soon as they got to Sasuke's; the movie rental experience completely unnecessary.

'Keep Going.'

Naruto let out a sigh of relief, not wishing to recall the embarrassing moment any longer, and trying to take a mental note of punching the raven in the face. The blonde stated the next morning what had taken place was never to be spoken of again.

Naruto trotted half-way down the stairs, already being greeted with another piece of paper sliding into his hands, and a smile growing on his lips.

Do you remember when I told my brother?'

Naruto felt his stomach churn at the unpleasant memory. Sasuke finally wanted to tell his older brother noticing the relationship getting too serious too ignore, and hiding forever was unacceptable. Despite all the protests made by Naruto, the raven marched into work and quit outright with no explanation as to why. Naruto remembered feeling completely guilty the entire time his brother had been gone on vacation, and blew off Sasuke unintentionally, while he tried to get his mood back in order.

The older raven eventually made his way over to the blondes' house and barged his way into his room – brother in tow. Itachi was more shocked that Sasuke had quit than the two were together; he was more relieved at the fact. Itachi was pleased that all of his meddling finally paid off, and if they had kept anything like that from him again, he was going to fire Sasuke – instantly. As a result of their secrecy and Sasuke's urge to quit, the younger raven had to put in twice the hours he normally did till his older menacing brother saw fit, which was just around the time he was about to drop dead from exhaustion.

The blonde folded the paper up with the others, placing them in his pocket, not even needing to know what else it said; he continued down the steps.
At the bottom, instantly another tiny piece of paper snapped to his hands, though this one was red, and Naruto knew it was either extremely bad or extremely good.

Do you remember the first time I said I Love You?'

Naruto breath caught unexpectedly in his throat. It was a random night like any other. They had spent their day off together like they usually did, and they did pointless things. Went to a fast food place, went window shopping, went to the movies; ate up the time together. They returned to Sasuke's place like usual, always eager to avoid Naruto's roommates and friends, and went to settle in to just simply sitting together and watching some pointless television.

Naruto could see the scene playing out in his head as he recalled it, clear as present day, and shut his eyes in hopes it would make the blurry lines and hazy voices clearer.

Naruto spun around on his heel to look at Sasuke, a light smile playing on his lips not being able to help himself; the day had been plainly wonderful. It was full of odd sporadic moments of laughter, jokes, and the ever popular moments of making Sasuke glare at some comment or another. There was never a dull moment and a smile never left their faces.
Sasuke's smile, though, was finally gone as he stared slightly down at Naruto; his coal eyes twinkling with something the blonde couldn't quite figure out.

"Are you okay?" Naruto could feel his forehead wrinkle with worry and confusion, Sasuke's happiness had left so quickly.

"I need to get something off my chest."

Naruto felt a sudden burst of anxiety fill his stomach, felt his heart jump wildly in his chest, and felt his hands begin to quiver. Wasn't that the line that everyone uses before breaking up?

"I love you, Naruto."

Naruto panic attack quickly escalated, and his breathing became erratic and his eyes watering, his hands shaking even more.

Sasuke's brow began to crease at the blonde's reaction his hands instantly shooting out and the doctor instincts instantly overriding any other thought process.

"Naruto, what's wrong? You need to tell me what's wrong," Sasuke guided the blonde instantly to the couch, sitting him down and trying to find the source of his strained breathing and his sudden tears.

"You're crazy! That's what!" Naruto shouted irrationally causing Sasuke's head to snap back and his eyes to widen.

"How in the hell can you be in love with me? Are you writing yourself prescriptions of drugs or something you insane son-of-a-"

Sasuke began chuckling, wrapping his arms around Naruto's slightly shaking frame as he did so, and held him tightly.

Naruto held the note in his hand a moment further; remembering that it was the first time anyone had ever told him they loved him. No one had ever uttered those three life changing words, not even his mother. Naruto remembered sobbing after that, retuning the words repeatedly, and Sasuke not being able to help himself, chuckling a lot.
The blonde shoved the note into his pocket and before he could take another step, the next one was in his hand with one light tug, and he yanked it open excitedly.

Remember when I asked you to move in with me?'

Naruto let a laugh escape his lips this time, recalling the memory. The blonde had spent the night for a week straight, and by that point, he already had his own side of the closet and bed since he stayed there so much in the first place. Sasuke returned from work to find Naruto already there having come through the unlocked back door, and finally, without the romance Naruto thought came with the question, asked Naruto is he wanted to move in.

The blonde was in within a week, and even though they had moved since then, the place held some of his fondest memories.
Naruto rounded the corner with the thread as his guide, picking up another piece of paper before entering the living room.

Will you create one more time stopping memory with me?'

The blonde pulled his head back from the paper and observed from a bit of a farther look, rolling the question around in his head. It didn't make much sense considering the fact that they had created every memory known to man together, it was hard to create any more; it would just be repeating things. If Sasuke made one more comment about Naruto becoming his nurse though - then Naruto was going to deck him in the face.

Naruto finally wondered in the living room, paper still in hand and a questionable look still playing on his face.

"You haven't figured it out?" Sasuke's voice questioned from the middle of the living room.

Naruto looked up with a suddenly warm smile that Sasuke always caused, his eyes raking over the raven. Sasuke was wearing the sweater the blonde loved to see him in so much; a black turtle neck number with long sleeves that brought out Sasuke's eyes. His raven hair had been extra taken car of today, every hair placed specifically in each place, none covering his face – but framing it. He was wearing regular jeans, the ones that Naruto bought because the blonde said he needed to branch out in style, and they were his only pair. Naruto saw that his hands were clasped behind his back hiding something.

The blonde gave him a quizzical look, "What's going on?"

"So you haven't figured it out. Can you be anymore blonde?" Sasuke asked teasingly.

"I just want to know what brought all this on, doesn't mean I haven't figured this out!" Naruto waved the small slip of paper with a lie.

"I needed to get something off my chest," Sasuke quoted directly with a shrug, his hands still clasp behind his back.

"What, are you trying to make me cry again?" Naruto asked as he blushed lightly.

"No, but…" Sasuke closed the gap between them, his face serious and Naruto's heart speeding up at the sight.

"Have you ever heard the tale about the invisible red string?" Sasuke questioned lightly, eyeing the blonde with soft coal eyes.

"No…never," Naruto's thumb instinctively rubbed the string that was latched on to his ring finger.

"It's said that when two people are destined to meet, there will be a piece of red string binging them together. It will never break." Sasuke held up his left hand from his back, the red string tied to his own.

Naruto's serious side panicked, "It's not invisible."

"I wanted to show you that I've searched high and low for someone I can share my life with, and I don't want to spend the rest of my life hiding it. It should never be invisible."

Naruto's heart drummed against his ribs, the blonde feeling the familiar sensation of fainting creeping up on him.

"What I'm getting at, Naruto," Sasuke pulled his right hand from behind his back, a small little jewelry box in one hand.

"I swear, if you even utter those words, I will beat you." Naruto muttered, shaking, and already tearing. Sasuke was the only one who knew how to work his tear ducts to the fullest potential.

Sasuke immediately rearranged his words, every step taken as if he expected it, but he just simply knew Naruto like the back of his own hand.

"Will you spend the rest of your life with me?"

"Why in the world do you see the need in making me cry?" Naruto choked out, not bothering to answer the question leaving Sasuke to stand there with box in hand and feeling a tad awkward.

"Uh, Naruto…"

"You're so crazy. First, you like me, then you kiss me, then you date me, then you love me, then you live with me, and now you want to spend the rest of your life with me?" Naruto squeaked.

Sasuke nodded, still holding out the box, "Of course."

Naruto looked up at the still calm man with teary eyes before he jumped forward, latching his arms around his neck and holding the raven tightly. Sasuke had to scramble to hold on to the small little jewelry box that almost flew out of his hands once Naruto pounced, but he regained it splendidly.

Naruto pulled back, his hands still clasped around the other mans' neck, "Yeah, I will."

Sasuke smiled lightly, holding back his own joy, "Good to finally know."

Sasuke retracted one arm, the one that still held the small little box, and opened it for the blonde. Naruto grabbed the gold band before Sasuke had a chance to react, and slid it on his ring finger, not removing the string.

Their lips finally met in the longest moments they shared. Silk against clouds as they embraced in a moment of complete bliss and total elation. Sasuke was the first to pull back, pressing his silky lips onto Naruto's cool forehead, his free right hand breezing through the blonde locks like he so loved to do.

Naruto looked down at the new band that fit perfectly on his finger as it winked up at him, before looking back up at Sasuke who was still smiling warmly.

"How long have you been planning this?" Naruto asked genuinely curious, vaguely noting he now needed to get Sasuke an identical band.

"Since the day I said 'I love you'."

Author's Note: I didn't want any naughty stuff in here; I wanted it to be so fluffy my chinchillas were jealous. So I successfully wrote another fiction, and without the need of sex. On to the rest!