Dead Weight

Author: Ladelle

Rating: M

Comments: Thank you for all of your reviews! I only have a handful left to respond to and I'll be doing that tonight.

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I encourage you all to visit a website called Ochiba . net. I have a few more stories posted there than I do on ff . net, and also, when I get down the road on DW, the more mature chapters will be posted there with their edited counterparts here. I have a link on my author page now, and the only reason I'm making an open promotion is because I don't really know if I'll remain uber active on AFF or ygallery. But Ochiba--for sure! XD

Oooh, I just did this really fun challenge and posted it there, too. It's too bad we can't post challenges here. :looks sad:

Just a nice little author FYI. XD

Chapter 12:

When Naruto finally arrived home to his duplex, it was obvious that Kiba had taken advantage of the fact he had been out all night. There were beer cans and bottles of hard liquor scattered in the living area and a half-opened box of pizza was perched dubiously on the coffee table, surrounded by napkins and used paper plates.

Naruto sighed as he locked the door behind him, shrugging off his jacket as the summer heat began to stifle him; for some reason the inside of their home was always muggy and thick with humidity. After setting his jacket to the side he started to clean the mess, wondering just who Kiba had invited over for a party—and why the brunet never felt the need to let Naruto know.

He stacked used cups into a pile and tossed them into a pop-top wastebasket, sliding the empty pizza box in behind it. After picking up a tornado of napkins that seemed to flood the carpet in front of the television the house suddenly seemed respectable again, and after he tossed the remaining glass bottles, it almost would have passed for clean.

Across from him the door to Kiba's bedroom was propped open, but Naruto didn't feel guilty about making any noise and potentially waking his friend up. He merely glanced up from the trash can and snapped the lid shut, frowning all-the-while.

"What's got you so upset?" Kiba asked, and Naruto snorted.

"I don't like it when you invite people over," Naruto said, but it wasn't to pick a fight. He had a problem with people he didn't know being inside his home—his past made that fear inevitable.

Kiba smirked and wandered out of his bedroom, running a hand through his messy hair. He yawned and tightened the drawstring on his sweatpants, bringing attention to the fact he wasn't wearing a shirt.

"Don't be jealous," the brunet said slyly, "you get this all of the time…" Kiba ran a finger along his navel, following the curve of his abdomen. Naruto snorted.

"You're still drunk," he said, and Kiba frowned and dropped his hand to his side. "Fine, no sexy strip tease for you."

Naruto turned to where he had dropped his jacket, wanting to hang it inside the coat closet instead. As he turned to grab a hanger, he decided to change subjects, not in the mood for Kiba's jokes.

"Two of Yamato's guys were waiting for me at the Chateau," he said somewhat briskly, and at the drop of a pin Kiba was beside him, yanking him by the wrist in an effort to turn him around. Naruto hissed as the brunet's grip forced the hanger from his hands and glared up in surprise and anger.

"What the hell Kiba," he tugged his hand towards him, "let go."

"Why didn't you call?" Kiba demanded, and Naruto once again tried to shimmy out of his grasp. Kiba's eyes were narrowed and stale, as if he was both worried and extremely angry at the same time.

"I didn't need to," Naruto said and he finally yanked his hand away, "Jesus Kiba," he mumbled, and he rubbed the sore bit of red that was beginning to form on his wrist.

"What did they want?" Kiba's voice seemed to calm as he stepped back into the living area, giving Naruto some space. He was obviously relieved that Naruto wasn't hurt or didn't seem intimidated by the encounter.

"What do you think they wanted?" he asked instead, simply because it was obvious Kiba had thought he had been in danger. The brunet folded his arms across his chest and glared out of the window, looking like he had business he wanted to keep to himself.

It frustrated Naruto.

"Look Kiba," Naruto stood in front of his friend, "they wanted me to tell you to bail Yamato out. Why did you think they followed me there?"

Kiba glanced down at him, relief washing over his features. Naruto read it perfectly easily and continued to frown, especially when Kiba avoided his question all together.

"Is that it?" he asked, and he let out a breath before turning towards the kitchen. This time Naruto reached forward and grabbed Kiba, pulling him backwards.

"Don't keep things from me," he said, and as much as he wanted it to sound like a warning, it came out more as a plea. Even Kiba seemed surprised because his hazel eyes widened and settled into a gaze that was almost protective.

"We agreed to stay here until you were able to get names," Kiba recalled, "and so far, even after a few months, we haven't really gotten much…"

Naruto narrowed his eyes. "What are you trying to say?"

Kiba glanced up, his expression something both definite and apologetic. "Don't get defensive. I'm just saying that our ways of gathering information have been… too careful. You can't expect to learn anything if all you ever do is listen and never take the time to ask."

Naruto frowned, wondering when Kiba had started to feel they way he had just explained. There were reasons they floated under the radar, even if Kiba didn't entirely understand them. "What does any of that have to do with Yamato's guys?"

Kiba sat down on the couch and stared at the floor, looking a lot like a child that had been caught doing something they were told not to. It took a minute for Naruto to take in the expression before his face soured and he let out a frustrated sigh.

"Who have you told?" he asked, reading Kiba perfectly. "And what?" he finished, taking a long breath to calm himself. It wasn't as if they associated with quiet people, and the walls always had ears.

Kiba glanced up at him and shook his head. "Just that I was looking for any information related to Minato Namikaze," he said. "A lot of the people at the pier talk to people who talk to Zabuza's people so I thought it was a step in the right direction."

Naruto frowned. "Why would that have endangered either of us then?" He was beginning to feel himself grow fidgety, especially with how straightforward Kiba was acting.

"I think that someone knows who killed him," Kiba stated. "And for some reason… no one will talk about it. Like he's being protected or something. And if he's being protected, anyone looking for him is considered—"

"An enemy," Naruto said smoothly, and he shook his head before sitting down next to Kiba.

"I didn't want to tell you," Kiba said evenly, "because I know that you like it here."

It was a strange comment for the brunet to make and Naruto opened his mouth to argue, only to close it. It was true. Of all the places they had drifted to, this city was the best. He had a decent job and made good money, and his reputation was bold enough to avoid any dangers aside from the ones he sought.

"Zabuza's reach is so far," Naruto breathed instead, mimicking Kiba as he fell back against the cushions of the couch. "It's like we get closer and closer and then further and further away at the same time."

Kiba nodded but didn't turn to face him. He looked thoughtful for a moment. "There are only two people we need though. Uchiha and the man who pulled the trigger. Those are the ones you want, right?"

Naruto nodded absently, memories beginning to drift through the windows of his mind. He could remember that voice threatening his father… he could see his father's face as it contorted in pain, telling him to run. The images became less clear as time went on, as if time itself were washing away the anger he had inside of him.

But it hadn't.

He had made a vow and he would keep it—because his father had made him promise. And even if he had been the worst son—not able to even save the life of the person closest to him—he could at least fulfill one promise, and avenge that person's death.

"Naruto," Kiba's voice sounded from beside him, seeming vaguely worried. When Naruto opened his eyes—he hadn't even realized he had closed them—Kiba was hovering beside him, his face inches away.

"Are you still angry at me?" he asked, and he crept forward, smirking as their faces wound up inches apart. It seemed like a few moments that they just stared at each other, until Kiba made a sated noise in the base of his throat.

Naruto let Kiba kiss him, taking advantage of the attention. It was a hungry kiss, devouring him; Kiba's way of resolving conflicts. They weren't lovers although they had done enough together to earn the title, just two friends with too much unresolved tension.

Naruto broke the kiss, feeling obstinate. With everything that had happened over the past couple of days, it hardly felt like the moment for pure unadulterated sex.

"Whoa, too angry for make-up sex?" Kiba asked, diving back against him in an effort to line kisses along his neck and jaw. Naruto pushed him back lightly, looking serious.

"Too tired for pointless sex," he supplied, and he pushed himself up from the couch, wanting nothing more than to go to sleep.

His relationship with Kiba was changing.

It had started with Kiba being someone he could lean on—someone he could follow. He depended on the brunet for the majority of his younger years—through the abuse of Kiba's parents to their first throes of freedom—and now, he was older. Naruto could make it on his own if he needed to…and he wanted to find things outside of the friendship he and Kiba had built. He wanted to find people outside of it.

Naruto wanted to meet new people—like Kiba had. Naruto didn't know any of the people Kiba had invited over, of that he was sure. But he wanted to be free of the chains he had developed over the years… and wished his revenge on Itachi and the shooter didn't seem so far away.

With that on his mind he always felt like a man in a tunnel, with one direction to go, and one person to depend on—himself.

"I think I'm going to get some rest," Naruto said to Kiba, and he stretched, watching as Kiba watched him with analyzing eyes from behind.

Naruto drifted into his bathroom and ran some cold water onto his hands, splashing it over his face. The cold sensation felt good after such a long night, and he rubbed his eyes, feeling them burn a little. The only thing he truly hated about the chateau was the fact smoking was allowed inside—it always seemed to smother him.

He heard a knock sound on the living room door as he turned off the faucet, waving his arms around in search of a towel to wipe his face with. He shook his head, feeling stubborn. Even if he rejected Kiba's advances, the brunet always had someone else.

Naruto pulled off his button-up shirt as he wandered into his room, losing it on his floor as he searched for a t-shirt that smelled less like alcohol and tobacco. He settled for a plain black tee, pulled it over his shoulders, and whipped his head to the side as he heard Kiba's voice raise a decibel, in something like a warning.

Did he not know the person at the door?

"I asked who the fuck you were," Naruto heard Kiba say as he wandered out, ready to defend whatever the situation. He was surprised when an icy stare met his curious one, completely shocked to see Sasuke Uchiha standing at his door—he glanced at his clock—at nearly eight in the morning.

Kiba seemed to follow the stranger's stare to Naruto because he twisted around, giving the blond a decently displeased expression. Naruto glanced from him to Sasuke, noting how he hadn't told Kiba about their meeting yet. And considering the circumstances of what Kiba had told other men about at the pier, he wasn't sure if he wanted to.

While he was the type to use Sasuke to get to Itachi without being physical, Kiba was the complete opposite. Everything with him was a means to an end, and for some reason, Naruto felt slightly protective over his new acquaintance.

"Kiba," Naruto said, and it was all he needed to say for the brunet to understand that Naruto knew the person standing at the door. Naruto looked apologetic for a moment and held up a finger to Sasuke, motioning for him to wait a minute. He jogged back to his room and grabbed his wallet, shoving it into his back pocket. He never took it with him to the club because of the sketchy area.

Grabbing his keys off his dresser he came back out, wanting to get Sasuke away from Kiba, especially when his roommate's eyes were roaming over the raven in a look that mimicked either protectiveness or jealousy—which, he wasn't sure.

"I'm sorry, I'll be back in a bit," Naruto said and he eagerly exited, grinning something extreme as he pulled the door shut behind him. After it clicked closed he let out a long breath before glaring up at the college student.

"You have a lot of nerve coming to my house," he said, and he shoved his keys into his front pocket.

Sasuke, who had looked livid the entire time, merely snorted. "You're the one who told me to come find you," he stated, and Naruto couldn't argue. He had told him that… but he had expected Sasuke to find him at one of his jobs or at the bike shop—not to track him to his residence.

"And 'Kyuubi' got you here?" Naruto raised an eyebrow, glancing back at his duplex door.

"Of course not," Sasuke said, and Naruto noticed how pale he looked under the orange overtones of the rising sun. "You're license number did," he said firmly, and even from their position on the porch, the small back end of Naruto's bike could be seen in the garage.

"When were you sober enough to get my license number?" Naruto ventured, looking even more curious. He must have sounded self-satisfied because Sasuke's expression dimmed substantially.

Without answering the question the dark-haired college student turned away, walking impatiently down the sidewalk leading to the street. Naruto glanced around and noticed that there weren't any cars parked nearby, and wondered just how Sasuke had arrived. It wasn't as if the trip was short, either.

"And where do you think you're going?" Naruto asked, letting his voice carry the ten or so feet Sasuke had walked away. When the brunet turned to face him, Naruto smirked. "You came to pay me back, right?"

"I don't owe you anything." The Uchiha said, but he didn't walk away. Naruto strode up to him and laughed. "Then why are you here?"

As Sasuke stared at him Naruto remembered more of him. Even though the Asian's eyes were dark from a distance, they were surprisingly hazel up close—and his pale skin was completely flawless; like a porcelain doll. Naruto recalled thinking that Sasuke was very pretty as a child, and was surprised to find he had the same opinion now.

"What do you want?"

Naruto was surprised when Sasuke asked because he had expected him to be the type to claim eternal denial. He looked thoughtful for a moment, debating on how to approach the situation. If he straight out asked about Itachi, it would cause problems. It was obvious Sasuke wasn't fond of him, and in a small part of his mind, he wanted that fact to change.

"Go on a date with me," Naruto said suddenly, cocking his head up and into Sasuke's shadow. The sun had been bright against his face.

Sasuke was wearing a nice jacket and it crinkled as he tensed, something Naruto found amusing. "And why would you assume that I'm gay?" he questioned, looking insulted.

Naruto smirked and pointed to the ground. "Those are not straight man shoes," he said confidently, mostly because they were completely unscuffed and polished. "And this," he ran a hand through a long set of layers that tapered against Sasuke's face, "is not straight man hair."

Sasuke slapped Naruto's hand away after looking caught off guard and he glanced down at his feet. When he brought his vision back up to Naruto he looked smug. "These," he said, referring to his shoes, "are rich people shoes. I wouldn't expect you to under—"

"Yeah, yeah," Naruto said, walking briskly past him. He knew he was right, no matter what arguments Sasuke had prepared for him. Even Sasuke's apartment attendant had said that his roommate brought home men… and in Naruto's experience with straight men, he had never met even one that would stand a homosexual roommate.

"Are you coming?" Naruto asked when he reached the sidewalk, flinching as the sun hit him again. Sasuke looked defeated, although he was doing a brilliant job of covering it up. He frowned, irritation crossing his features.

"I'm not going anywhere with someone who won't even tell me their name," he put out, looking firm in his decision. Naruto laughed, "I already told you, my name is—"

"I'm not calling you 'Kyuubi'. That's the stupidest shit I've ever heard."

Naruto frowned before letting out a sigh. He was thoughtful for a moment, debating on what to say. He decided that his first name would be fine.

"Naruto," he said simply, and Sasuke stood for a moment, as if debating on whether to believe him, or ask for a last name to match.

"Naruto," he repeated, and the blond nodded, looking smug.

"If you want to know more about me, because I see you looking curious over there," he said, "we are about to go on a date."

Sasuke shook his head and drifted forward, walking past Naruto onto the sidewalk, ignoring him. "You're an idiot."

Naruto followed from behind, a smile tugging at his lips. He was lucky Sasuke had come at all…

…and at the rate they were going, he would have information on Itachi in no time.

A/N: A few people have reviewed and said that they haven't liked how fast I've re-introduced Sasuke, but I can guarantee it is all for a reason. My mind goes at its own pace and I've gotta follow my writing intuition, lol. I appreciate all of the advice though, so please continue to guide me.

Real Naruto Spoilers (Anime)

Okay, so I'm not going to lie, I'm actually liking the fillers...which seems like I should be bopped on the head or something for admitting. There are so many yaoi allusions though!! Sai trying to comfort Naruto and him being like, 'I don't swing that way...!", or when the enemy chick tried to kiss him and he said, "I've kissed before...!! Even if it was a guy..." (insert memory of kissing Sasuke).

They're really cracking me up. XD