"Straight flush. Mr. Uchiha wins."
Itachi manifested like an apparition at his elbow. He looked down at his little brother, amused and approving, before he leaned down to talk to the man that had gambled away a small fortune at the casino's private table.
"Mr. Orochimaru, thank you for playing with us this evening. You played very well. Is there anything the Sharingan Casino can offer you for the remainder of your stay?"
Slowly and diplomatically, Itachi was herding the man away from the table and the private room. With a few more words, he let the man be led away by his bespectacled lackey. Personally, he was glad Sasuke had beaten the man. He was a slimy snake as far as Itachi was concerned. He'd been monitored closely, just in case he tried anything.
He hadn't. At least nothing more than eyeballing his little brother like he was a tasty delicacy to be sampled and making a few obvious passes that had been summarily rejected. He smirked in traditional Uchiha fashion at that thought and returned to the last two players left at the table.
"Mr. Uzumaki, Sasuke. You will have a half hour break before the game continues, if you choose to continue?" They would, he knew. They'd been giving each other death glares in between hands when they hadn't been trading insults.
He didn't know what had gotten into Sasuke. Normally, the younger Uchiha didn't deem anyone worthy of more than the occasional 'hn' and a glare or two. But with the blond, there'd been tension since he'd introduced them. It was becoming very interesting.
"Of course we'll continue, Itachi." That was Sasuke's calm, dignified response.
"Definitely! I'm not losing to this teme." The more vocal response corresponded to the enthusiastic blond.
"Very well then. The Sharingan Casino is very pleased to have you Mr. Uzumaki. Please enjoy your short break and I will return with your dealer in a half hour. Sasuke." With that Itachi walked away, leaving his little brother in charge of the blond until he returned.
Sasuke nodded to his brother as he left and stood from his chair, walking to the bar taking up a large corner of the VIP room. Behind him, Naruto transferred himself from one of the table chairs to plop unceremoniously into one of the large, leather lounge chairs.
"Did you want anything, Uzumaki?" Sasuke asked from the bar as he placed his order for a dry, Grey Goose martini with the bartender.
A blond head turned, wild golden spikes falling haphazardly around it and cerulean eyes met his onyx gaze. They studied him for a second before a quick grin split the features, making the thin scars he'd noticed on the tanned cheeks earlier look even more like whiskers than he'd originally thought. There was something vaguely fox-like about the blond when he smiled, Sasuke thought.
Then again, it could be the tight black tee with a very orange nine tailed fox demon screened on it. He didn't even have words for what he thought of that as a fashion statement.
"Jack and coke is fine."
Sasuke nodded and repeated the order to the bartender.
With his back to him, Naruto studied the brunette. He'd decided he was a prissy ice princess, too used to getting his way. So naturally, he figured it was his place to ruffle some of those perfectly groomed Uchiha feathers. So far, he was enjoying it terribly.
Not to mention the bastard was sexy as hell, in that angst-ridden, tall, dark and beautifully handsome sort of way. All that pale, milky skin unmarred by even a single freckle and dark, midnight black-blue locks that fell in long bangs around that angular face. He was fairly sure the Uchiha's cheekbones could cut glass, and were the envy of supermodels around the world, but the angles were softened by the nearly full lips that were a peachy-pink color.
And then there were those eyes. Bottomless, obsidian pools a person could surely get lost in if they weren't careful. He wondered how many unsuspecting fools had been hypnotized by those Uchiha eyes. They were by far the bastard's best feature.
Though that long, lean body poured into designer clothes that showcased him and his tight, round ass to perfection, and the self-confidence and icy facade the raven wore like a cloak definitely exuded their own brand of sex appeal. Yeah. The bastard was sexy. And mysterious. And sexy.
And for some unknown reason, Naruto found himself wanting to know more.
"Hey, let's make this interesting, Uchiha" Naruto voiced up to the dark eyed man as Sasuke walked back from the bar and stood across from him.
Sasuke raised a brow at the blond, staring at him intently.
"Hn. What do you propose, dead-last?"
Naruto felt his temper spike at the insult, but bit back his retort. Instead he shot the Uchiha a calculating grin and took his drink from the manicured hand, letting his fingers linger just a bit longer than necessary.
"Hmm…If I win…which I will, teme," Naruto interjected cockily.
"Hn." There went the eyebrow again, accompanied with a look that clearly implied Naruto was delusional.
"A date. You and me."
The retort was immediate and automatic and cold. It booked no room for argument.
Clearly, Sasuke was not amused by his challenge. Blue eyes narrowed speculatively at the Uchiha.
He wondered briefly if the spark of attraction that had occurred earlier when they'd been introduced had been totally one sided on his part. No…he was sure he'd seen a flash of…interest…in those dark eyes before they'd shut down into blank, emotionless pools of obsidian. He was fairly certain he'd never met anyone with a better poker face. He really wanted to watch it fall apart and reveal the enigma that was Sasuke Uchiha to him.
No…he wouldn't give up yet.
Naruto leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. The muscles there bunched and played under that caramel skin enticingly.
"Hn." The scowl returned. "Why would I be scared of an idiot like you?"
Naruto wondered briefly what that scowl would taste like beneath his lips.
"I don't know, teme. Maybe 'cause you want my body?" Toned, tanned arms moved from across his chest to rest behind his neck. Naruto slid a little ways forward on the chair, stretching out his legs, crossing his ankles, until he was practically reclining on it, the picture of relaxation.
The thin material of the cotton tee tightened across a broad chest at the move, hugging well defined pectoral muscles. From the way those onyx eyes sharpened and lingered just a little too long on his chest before moving back up to meet his blue gaze, Naruto knew he looked good.
A cat with a bowl full of cream couldn't have rivaled the smile of sensual satisfaction on his face. Oh yeah, point for me.
That smile irked him. Sasuke felt it was his duty to wipe that smug look off the blond's face even if he'd practically conceded the point anyway. He really did have a nice chest, broad and sculpted very nicely if that tee shirt was any indication. He wondered what'd it feel like to be pinned down to a mattress by that chest…the thought stopped him cold.
What the hell was wrong with him? He was Sasuke Uchiha. The Sasuke Uchiha. People fantasized about him,not the other way around. Exactly. He just had to remind the blond idiot smiling at him of that.
"Hn. Have to resort to bets to get a date, Uzumaki?"
Naruto chuckled, noting that he was getting a date. Or at least the chance to win one if his luck held. He sat up a little straighter.
"Not usually, no. But…" Cerulean eyes roamed slowly down and gradually back up the entire length of the lean body before him.
He didn't leer or ogle Sasuke as so many others did when they looked at him. Those eyes just looked, and looked honestly, appreciatively, at his body. They saw him Sasuke. Not his last name, not his money or designer clothes. Just him.
He fought the instinct to cross his arms protectively across his chest. For some reason he felt more exposed under those honest eyes than he'd ever felt from the gazes he knew were mentally undressing him.
Naruto made no attempts to hide the fact that he was looking at the raven, that he found him beautiful…sexy…perfect. When he met the onyx gaze once more Naruto didn't try to hide the truth in his eyes. Or the arousal.
He reached for the glass beside him, not looking away from those dark as midnight eyes, and took a sip of the strong, burning liquid, hoping it would soothe his suddenly dry throat. When he spoke again, his voice was low and husky, his words, soft.
"You could drive a man to sin, Sasuke"
Naruto rolled the name around on his tongue like a piece of hard candy, finding it exceptionally delectable. He was curious to find out if the man it belonged to would taste just as good.
Sasuke fought a shiver as the sound of his name was practically purred by the blond's rich, whisky voice. He'd never thought his name could sound so…erotic.
"And if I win, what do I get, Naruto?"
His own voice sounded soft, almost breathy, and Sasuke wasn't quite sure why. He tried to scowl but his lips felt dry. Unconsciously, he let his tongue trail over them as he watched the blond, waiting for a response.
Oh man, he could totally get used to hearing his name come from those lips in that voice. That was one of the sexiest fucking thing he'd ever heard. He bet the bastard gave great phone sex. And that tongue? Fuck. He felt Jr. jump in agreement, making him very aware of just how tight his jeans were.
"Mmm…say my name like that again, baby, and I'll give you anything you want. Name it..."
Sasuke's eyebrows shot up at that. Baby? What the..? Who did the blond think he was talking to? Sasuke was about to call the blond out for calling him…that…when the rest of the sentence sunk in. Anything I want? Oh, dobe…you shouldn't show your tells so soon… I could have fun with this…
"Na..ru..to.." Sasuke breathed, prolonging each syllable, as he watched the blond.
Naruto wondered if it was possible to come from just the sound of a voice. He had a strong suspicion it was possible, if the way he was feeling was any indication. Gods. He had to close his eyes to suppress the moan that nearly escaped as he'd heard that prissy voice go all soft and throaty around his name once more.
Oh man, he had to get that voice into bed. That was his new mission in life. Yes. He wanted to hear all the other noises that sexy as fuck voice could make. There were definitely secrets the bastard was hiding in the ice-princess façade. Like the fact he was a fucking tease.
If it was possible, he was sure his cock hardened even more. It was bordering on painful. And that was only from thinking about the brunette. Oh yeah. He had to get the bastard into bed. Or a closet. Or the wall, the floor, the table…Naruto groaned at his thoughts.
Sasuke watched as thoughts and emotions swirled in those sapphire eyes. Lust, curiosity, lust, excitement, frustration, lust…He'd never seen eyes so open and expressive. He was fascinated. And more than a little aroused as lust pooled in those sky blue pools once more.
He suddenly felt as sexy and gorgeous and stunning as everyone had always told him he was. He'd never believed the fawning groupies, knowing their praise wasn't born of sincerity so much as the need to claim him as a prize.
But right now, with the blond's gaze fixated on him so intently, telling him without words that he was all those things and more, he felt the truth of the compliments for the first time in his life. And the sudden realization of how badly he'd wanted that left him shaky. He looked away first, hating his sudden weakness.
"So…" Sasuke swallowed, realizing his throat had gone dry, before trying again. "So, anything I want, dobe? Does that mean you'd lose the hand, if I asked?"
Better. That didn't sound so breathy anymore, though it was still far from his usual cold voice.
Naruto's brows drew together. What? He'd been so focused on thoughts of the brunette that the voice had surprised him. He tried to recall what they were supposed to be talking about, flipping back over their conversation. Poker…bet…that voice saying his name...Oh yeah…wait…NO.
He grinned sheepishly as one hand went to rub the back of his neck. "Well not anything…"
"But you said anything." Something that felt strangely like a pout appeared on the Uchiha's lips. Except Uchiha's DO NOT pout. So it had to be something else. Yeah. Or so Sasuke reasoned.
Naruto didn't know whether to chuckle at the expression on Sasuke's face or groan with the desire to kiss the pouting lips. He opted for the former, fairly sure he'd receive a very unwelcome fist into his body if he tried the latter.
"Well, I meant almost anything. I wasn't quite thinking clearly at the time. My mind was…wandering." And the places it had wandered to would be places Naruto wanted to visit again very soon. He wondered how to get Sasuke to actually make those places permanent memories and grinned when an idea struck him.
"But we can put 'anything' back on the table…If you win, of course."
That grin. He hadn't trusted that shit eating grin for one second, but the words…well Sasuke loved nothing like a good challenge. Except maybe tomatoes. Mmm….But anyone that knew him would have told the blond he was a viciously competitive bastard. He smirked.
"That's dangerous, dobe. You could end up stripped naked and cuffed to a bed if you make such broad promises."
At those words, golden brows shot up to get lost in the falling bangs of the same color. Who'd have guessed the Uchiha was into that scene?
"Kinky, Uchiha. I think I like it. Deal."
Sasuke did that long, slow, blink…thing.
And then the words suddenly pierced the fog the image of Naruto tied to his bed, naked, had produced and his eyes went saucer wide and a furious blush blossomed on his cheek—which he'd deny till his last breath, because he was Sasuke Uchiha, and he didn't blush—and he sputtered.
"What?! Kinky? No. That wasn't…I mean…what I meant was…No…"
And he had to stop, to breathe, because Uchiha's did not stammer. They spoke clearly and concisely and never with more words than necessary.
"That wasn't what I was bargaining for, dobe." His voice came out calm, clear and icy. Perfect.
"Huh? But you just said so. So it's a deal. If I win, I get a date. If you win, I'll let you have your wicked way with my body."
Naruto's grin was so bright and so wide, it made Sasuke's cheeks hurt just to look at it. And it was definitely much too pleased. And yet he felt his lips twitching suspiciously into what could become a small smile if he didn't stop it soon.
"Man, Sasuke. With a deal like that you almost make me want to lose..."
And those words were like a bucket of cold water in Sasuke's face. Almost make me want to lose…Of course. The blond only wanted him for his body. That was all it was. It had nothing to do with him personally. It was just physical. He was just like the rest, wanting to claim Sasuke as a personal trophy. How foolish he'd been to think otherwise. Well, now he knew better. It didn't bother him. Really. The tightening in his chest certainly had nothing to do with disappointment.
But Naruto was more perceptive than people gave him credit for. Most people didn't look past the sunny looks and disarming smile and pinned him as a cute, but not too bright boy. For the most part he let them think what they wanted. But you couldn't be half as good at poker as he was if you didn't know how to read people. And he'd seen how the corners of Sasuke's eyes had tightened and his gaze had iced over at his words.
He wondered what exactly had offended the brunette in his comment and, on repeating it in his head, realized that he'd managed to cheapen the genuine attraction he felt for the man in front of him to something purely physical, not to be taken seriously. Not that he didn't feel a supernova sized physical attraction to the raven—he did—but, it was more than that. Naruto realized he'd liked watching Sasuke's jet-black eyes defrost and his guard come down as he'd teased him. He'd enjoyed, hell, he'd practically come in his jeans, from hearing Sasuke's voice lose the ice princess tone. And the blush and the pout…well he didn't quite have words for how cute the Uchiha had looked with them gracing his perfect alabaster features.
Exasperated, he sighed. Go figure he'd go and fall for a guy that had issues the size of Texas. Still, he had to fix this now, since he'd managed to fuck it up oh-so-perfectly.
"I said almost, you bastard. Jeez..." Naruto could only hope the teasing insults would work.
Sasuke 'Hnn'ed and turned, walking to his seat at the card table. He pointedly ignored Naruto.
Sensitive bastard. Naruto sighed again and went to take his own seat at the table, smiling ruefully.
"Guess I'll just have to prove it to you, teme. I'm going to beat you. And I'm getting MY date."
Sasuke's eyes slid up from the deck he'd been shuffling absentmindedly to look at the blond from beneath his lashes. He's just saying that. He doesn't really mean it, of course. But the little starburst of hope couldn't be quashed so easily.
So Sasuke was determined to prove he'd been right about the blond. He'd win tonight and take the blond up to his room, wait, no. No…the blond wouldn't step foot inside his penthouse. He'd never taken anyone up there before. No, they'd go to one of the many rooms in the hotel. Sasuke wasn't delusional enough to tell himself he wasn't attracted to the blond on a purely physical level, so maybe, it wasn't so bad that their bet included meaningless sex. It wouldn't be the first time he'd partaken, and, Sasuke was sure, it probably wouldn't be the last time. He had needs after all. Even if he did his best to ignore them the majority of the time.
He glanced at his tasteful Rolex, wondering when they would start so he could get this over with.
As if by magic, the dealer appeared at their table, followed closely by Itachi. His aniki's presence only served to remind Sasuke of exactly who he was and strengthened his resolve.
Ever the perfect host, he watched Itachi turn to the blond, offering a perfect, manicured hand. He watched the darker, larger palm envelop his brother's almost delicate hand and shake before releasing it. Unknown to him, he was glaring at the sight.
Itachi, however, noticed, and fought a frown of his own. What, exactly, had gone on in here, in the last half hour? He'd have to go to the control room and review the tapes of the private, VIP tables. But first, he had to make sure his high roller was being taken care of.
"I hope you had a pleasant break, Mr. Uzumaki. If there is anything you need during your game or the rest of your stay, please don't hesitate to ask. We will find a way to accommodate you if possible. This is Ibiki. He will be dealing for the remainder of your game with Sasuke."
Naruto looked up the man presented and tried hard not to stare. Scars and marks decorated the stern, large man, making him look more like the head of security and less like a dealer, in his opinion. He was sure the man was an excellent dealer though. Those sharp, piercing eyes probably missed nothing that went on at his tables. He doubted anyone had ever successfully cheated under that knowing gaze.
Naruto was in fact, right. Ibiki was head of security for the casino, making him the ideal dealer for this match. No one would be able to say the game between the two players was going to be anything but fair with Ibiki at the table. Considering one of the players was the youngest heir of the Uchiha fortune and half owner of the casino, it was important that everyone was assured the game was not tampered with in favor of the house.
The blond nodded, smiling softly at the large man in greeting. His mind was too preoccupied with Sasuke and his issues and their impeding game for him to be his usual sunny self.
"The game is no-limits hold'em, gentlemen. Please place your bets."
And the game began.
Their eyes met across the table, blue burning into black burning into blue, determination and stubbornness written on the two faces.
Sasuke was determined to win and prove that the blond only wanted him for his body.
Naruto was determined to win and prove the stubborn bastard wrong.
He wouldn't, couldn't lose this game.
Absently, he dumped enough chips on the table to buy a car or two, matching Sasuke's bet and raising it slightly.
He glanced at his cards and watched the man across the table instead, his minds eye superimposing the perfectly composed figure before him with the unguarded, slightly flustered, almost smiling, memory of the raven. Their eyes met again.
No, he couldn't lose. There was too much riding on this