A/N: Hi guys, I'm really sorry for the delay. I've been sick but I just wanted to drop a line saying how much I appreciate the love and support. Your comments, reviews and questions really keep me going, so please do continue. And if you are a 'guest' leaving a review on I want to say thanks too since I can't reply to you specifically, all of you are blessings. So no more chit chat, on with the chapter! *Ja'ne*

Warning: BOY x BOY/Hetero lemons, teens being teens, language and overall raunch and debauchery *seriously though*

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto nor associated characters but if I did that would totally rock!

Forging forward PRT 2

Kakashi's homeroom

"Glad to see you're back," Kakashi says without looking up as Sasuke walks into the class and steps over to his desk.

"Missed me Kakashi?" the raven smirked. "You can't get rid of me that easily you know."

Kakashi laid his book down as the expression under his mask changed to a cheerful one, "As if I'd try."

"I guess a nod of gratitude is in order for the letter you sent to the board," Sasuke said thanks without actually saying 'thanks'.

"Well if that was your way of expressing it, you're welcome."

Sasuke cleared his throat before his next statement. He had been thinking and well, Kakashi sensei wasn't all that bad. "Yeah, so even though Tsunade said I didn't have to mentor with you anymore…I guess if you aren't too busy we could continue."

Kakashi was taken aback but you'd never know it because of his facial accessory. "I think that can be arranged."


The warning bell sounded prompting students to file into the room.

Sasuke turned to find his desk.

"I look forward to nurturing you like never before," Kakashi added as he stood from his seat.

"Nurturing?" Sasuke shot around with apprehension.

"That's right Sasuke, I'm going to coddle you like a little baby bird from now on," said the educator as he stepped forward and patted the raven on the head.

Sasuke's expression soured. "That's really not necessar-"

"O but it is," Kakashi smiled big. "I can't wait to begin."

Sasuke shuddered. What had he gotten himself into?

Else where

Neji had been excused from homeroom to make some final preparations for the upcoming senior ceremony. He moved back and forth across the vacant classroom that held decorations, seating charts and floor plans for Thursday's event which would be taking place outside in the open field near the school. He picked up the list of graduating seniors and fingered through the diplomas laid out on the table before him to make sure each had a match and was spelled correctly.

"Osamu Watanabe," he said before his mind drifted.

Neji wondered about Naruto. He'd been 'helping' Sasuke lately causing them to spend less and less time together. Neji let out an exasperated sigh. He was tired of this back and forth game. He felt like drawing a line, telling Naruto he had to choose. Who would it be? He questioned. The reason he'd never actually given Naruto an ultimatum before was because he was partly scared Naruto would choose Sasuke. It was practically a fact; they'd had similar conversations in the past. Naruto would never agree to fully give up Sasuke. What would it take to finally separate the two?

Neji shook his head. "Watanabe," he repeated trying to get back to the task at hand.

What if Sasuke wasn't the issue? He drifted again. What other alternatives were there?

Neji pondered, just for a second, the idea of removing his self from the equation. Could he really just give up on the prospect of having Naruto to himself? Who was he kidding, as long as Sasuke was in the picture, he'd never have Naruto to himself.


The first period bell sounded.

"Back to square one," Neji spoke laying down his clip board. He couldn't give up. That wasn't the Hyuga way. For as long as he could remember, he'd been in a battle with Sasuke Uchiha, for grades, for respect, anything at all. Why should Naruto's affection be any different?

Later on the third floor

Sasuke groaned heavily while he made his way through the senior halls of Konoha high gathering the last of his missed assignments. Finally he felt like he was able to focus on school and move forward with his life, the main thing on his mind was getting Naruto back of course. His ears burned as he passed a couple seniors who were undoubtedly whispering about him. It was beyond annoying, in addition to being constantly hounded by the press, he returned to the same treatment back at school. People sure didn't know how to let anything go. Quickly he stopped by his locker to retrieve some books and thanked Kami it was lunch hour. Shutting the open metal door before him, he turned and headed for the stairwell. Soon it would be time to go home, he was relieved.

"Ah, Sasuke-kun," Kabuto squawked as he almost walked right into the dark heir.

Sasuke reeled back. He hadn't seen this guy in some time.

"Where have you been hiding?" Kabuto asked with an oddly pleasant face as Sasori walked up behind him.

Sasuke decided to pass on this conversation. He had one last opportunity to stay in school or lose everything; Kabuto wasn't worth it. The raven side stepped the grey haired teen and headed down the steps.

"Oh, are you in a rush?" he asked seeing that Sasuke was in no mood for idle chat. "I guess you do have business to take care of now that your secret is all over school."

Sasuke stopped.

"Well it was way worse around here when the news first broke but seems like your return has sparked the rumor mill yet again," Kabuto kept yapping.

Sasori watched the raven closely as he leaned on the banister.

Sasuke looked back at Kabuto through his dark bangs, he was really aggravated. "What do you want?" He asked through tight lips knowing full well what Kabuto was getting at.

Kabuto shrugged. "Everyone seems to be so amazed that Sasuke Uchiha, the golden child, is a closet homosexual. Of course this is no news to me…hehhe… I guess you did a good job hiding it all these years."

Sasuke lowered his eyes. Kabuto was wasting no time with his ridiculous mind games. Sasuke maintained his composure though he was getting more and more agitated by the minute. Nothing would satisfy him more than reaching out and breaking Kabuto's smug face into a million pieces. The raven reminded himself exactly what was on the line.

"Tsk, tsk…that Naruto sure is bad at keeping secrets. What's next another expose' on your coke problem? Or perhaps the fact that you're a cutter?" Kabuto suggested.

Sasuke's fist tightened. He was so close to swinging but he knew once he started, he wouldn't stop. The raven turned on his heels, which took every ounce of strength that he had.

"Oi, one more thing, Sasuke, Orochimaru is dying to see you again…but no pressure." Kabuto called out behind Sasuke who refused to respond.

Sasori looked over at the grey haired adolescent. "Someone's learning self-control," he jeered as he too moved in the opposite direction.

Later at Two G's

"You sure everything's ok?" Naruto asked as he cleaned and Sai sat, as per usual.

Sai couldn't shake the feeling of discord that Itachi had left with him. "I'm fine," he lied. Really he was a bag of nerves. All he kept thinking about was that conversation and Itachi's final words, 'you created that destiny'. Was he right? What a homicidal prick. Sai had half a mind to tell Sasuke that Itachi had shown his face and watch him go ballistic but he was sure that Itachi would reveal himself in due time, besides Sai had bigger fish to fry.

"Ok, if you say so," Naruto said as he turned chairs upside down while sweeping up.

Sai watched the blonde from the back…if looks could kill. "I do have a friend with a really huge problem…I guess it's become my problem through default. I just can't stop thinking about it."

Problem? Naruto liked solving problems even though he had plenty of his own that were festering. "What happened?"

"Well, my friend was dating this g-girl once upon a time, things kind of soured and years later they reconnected when she and her boyfriend at the time split. Well now my friend and this girl are trying to get back together but her ex, well he just won't butt out."

Naruto was blissfully ignorant as always. Just replace a few he's with she's and our fav blonde was in the dark. "Aww man, sounds rough."

Sai blinked. "Tell me about it…"

"It kinda sucks but you know if they're meant to be, they'll be." Naruto stated as he continued to sweep dust and trash particles along the floor.

Sai looked at him with low lids. "But my friend, his history with this girl…it's just something he can't put to rest. He can't just leave it to fate. She means too much to him."

"How does she feel? I mean is the girl still into the ex or what?"

Sai almost wrenched. As much as he hated to acknowledge the truth, the fact of the matter was that yes the girl, aka Sasuke, was still into his ex, aka Naruto. "Very much so," he said quietly.

"Yea, man that does suck," commented Uzumaki.

"His only bet is to take the ex out huh?" Sai proposed as he stared out the shop window crazily.

Naruto looked over his shoulder at him. "?"

Sai moved his eyes to the blonde. "Kidding," he said with a weak smile.

Naruto grinned. "Haha, so look if it were me I'd back off ya know. I mean, you can't really make someone love you or make them wanna be with you."

Sai felt like Naruto was speaking directly to his soul. "Why? Why can't people just understand that what they want and what they need are two different things?"

"It's human nature," he said thinking about Sasuke. This convo was hitting pretty close to home. Sasuke was what he wanted but Neji was clearly what he needed. He was in no position to give advice. "Hey, perk up. Things'll get better. Trust me, things like this have a way of working themselves out." Naruto said with his own tumultuous relationships in mind. If only that applied to him too…

Sai remained still. He wasn't satisfied with that answer. If Itachi was even partially right and he had created this destiny, he was going to make sure it was shaped in his favor.

That night

"Idk man, I'm just super stoked about Friday," Kiba gushed.

Naruto smiled. "Yea finally you might lose your V card."

"Whadaya mean might?!" asked the dog lover painfully.

Naruto laughed over the line. He was relaxing on sofa in the living room while Pervy messed around in the kitchen.

"Dude, you think it's a chance she'll shut me down?" Kiba asked quietly.

"Huh? No, no way I was just kidding," the blonde clarified.

"But seriously what if I go through all the motions and she shuts me down?" asked the brown haired boy sending himself into full-fledged panic mode.

"Kiba relax, you guys have been goin out for a little while now. I'm pretty sure everything'll go good Friday."

Knots kinked up in Kiba's stomach. Sure he talked a good game but he really wasn't sure how to make this happen exactly. "So when you and Sasuke like hooked up or whatever, tell me how…like how'd it happen?"

"Wait wha?" Naruto questioned.

"Not like that man, just like how'd it start off? I need pointers," Kiba sounded like a sad puppy.

Naruto looked to the side. The last thing he wanted on his mind right now was Sasuke and how good he made him feel. "I don't know, I mean it kinda just happened," he began to remember his first time. "It was a crazy storm out and he came and picked me up. We were just talking and it kinda went from there…" Naruto reached up and squeezed his right shoulder. The first time he'd been intimate with Sasuke… he would never forget it, his toes curled at just the thought. He remembered how Sasuke felt, every kiss, every fingertip, it was amazing. "He told me how much he cared about me, and that he wanted me since the first day…" it all came flooding back. "I could feel it ya know? He was a different Sasuke, he was perfect." Naruto mouthed.

"Dude, ew." Kiba chuckled.

Naruto blinked rapidly. "Seriously?"

"Sike, sike. But forreal that's how I wanna be. Not like rough and crazy like usual. I just want to take my time and make her remember it," said the blonde's bestie putting all jokes aside.

Naruto bit his lip. He would always remember Sasuke.

"WHATTTTT?!" Kiba yelled out jarring the blonde from his reminiscing.

"Shit, hey I gotta go, Hana needs help with something."

"OK, see ya."

"Later Naruto," Kiba said before clicking.

Damn him… Naruto cursed Kiba for bringing that up. He had been doing everything in his power to keep Sasuke and that Saturday night romp off his mind. "Ppppbbbbb,"he puffed figuring he'd be horny for the rest of the night.

"Sea food pasta?" Pervy sage questioned as he handed Naruto a plate.

Naruto examined the dish in hand. "Looks good," he said picking up the fork.

"Yeah I'm trying out some recipes for when Tsunade and I go away this summer." Jiraiya explained as he waited for Naruto to taste.

Naruto slurped up a few noodles and a piece of crab meat. "Yum," he nodded.

The older male smiled big. "Chef Jiraiiiiyaaaaahhhhhh," he did a jig.

Naruto laughed. "Say, you and granny really gonna be gone for a whole month?"

"Listen kid, when Jiraiya vacations he vacations like a BOSS!" he said excitedly. "Why, you wanna come?"

Naruto twisted more noodles around his fork and thrust it into his mouth. "Of course not," he said with the most serious off faces.

Jiraiya pouted.

"Kidding…I'm good, I'm just trying to figure out what you're vacationing from. Granny worked all year at the school but what did you do?" Naruto asked picking up a random shrimp tossing it back.

Jiraiya's jaw bounced off the floor. "Are you joking?! I've worked just as hard this year as she did! You got some nerve!"

"I guess peeping in bath houses is hard work," Naruto said as he stood and headed for the kitchen.


"Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!" the blonde complained after a well-aimed slipper knocked into his head.

"Ha! That's what you get smart-aleck," Jiraiya cheered as he followed the blonde through the door. "Anyway your little jerk friends will be glad to hear I'm gone so you can throw another party," he replied with folded arms.

"Nani?" Naruto asked with surprise.

"Thought I didn't know huh?" the white haired male laughed as he began to put away left over food.

Naruto smiled. He was soooo thankful to have Jiraiya in his life now. "You know, I'm gonna miss you," he patted the man on the shouldered before gliding to the basement stairs. "But don't worry I'll call you every hour on the hour."

Jiraiya's face whitened. "HUH?! No, every hour? That's really bothersome, I trust you!" he yelled after the blonde who disappeared to the level below.


Gaara had been waiting…and waiting and waiting.

Around his eyes were pitch black, darker than usual. He'd been up for about 4 and a half days now just waiting for his brain to stop long enough for him to get some sleep. He was crippled by his mental and emotional state.

He closed his eyes slowly and reopened them. He couldn't get the kid out of his mind. Even though Shukaku had reprimanded him, he just couldn't get the brightness out of his head. There was something about him that he liked…that he craved.

That night

"See ya," Sai said studying the face of his frienemy.

Naruto clicked the gate closed and turned, "Huh?"

"I said goodnight," Sai repeated. Something was off.

"O, yea, see ya tomorrow," Naruto said absentmindedly before stepping away.

I want to see you. Naruto repeated to himself as he began his walk home from the coffee shop. He took a deep breath before he stopped at a red light. As cars whizzed past, the blonde drifted in thought. I want to see you… he said again thinking of the text that he'd received from Sasuke just an hour before. The light changed green but Naruto didn't budge. He'd had an hour to respond yet he didn't, he just kept reciting the words over in his head.

He couldn't deny it. The urge to reply, 'come now' was strong but what would happen after that? Would they make out again? Would they have sex? What was next for them? The very idea made him nervous. Naruto tucked away his phone and watched the light.


Kiba, Naruto and Akamaru walked up a steep hill which over looked the field where the graduation ceremony was being held. The two were waiting for the other guys to show up. They had all decided to watch the ceremony from a far. The duo peered down at all the engineers as they finished the stage set up and put out chairs out for the big day.

"Dude I think that chick that tutored me in history is totally into me. She kept trying to get me to come to her house and since we stopped meeting she gave me a card that said 'good luck'. Such a turn on," Kiba spoke as he moved under the nearby Sakura tree that topped the hill and shrouded it in a cool shade.

"Uhhm the card was a nice touch but I think she was just asking you over to teach you, not to jump in your pants doofus," Naruto shook his head at the best friend he never thought he'd have.

"Idk man, woman love men that are taken. It's like, forbidden fruit or something," Kiba said popping off a few of the trees flowers as Akamaru sniffed around for the perfect place to pee.

Naruto's look sombered.

"What now?" Kiba asked his friend who was close to the edge of the hill.

Naruto recalled the previous night. "How did everything become so complicated?" he asked a question he knew Kiba couldn't really answer.

Kiba's face scrunched up. "I'm gonna kill Sasuke, wha'd he do?"

"That's the problem, he didn't do anything wrong. It's driving me nuts."

"Details," Kiba solicited.

"He's being extra nice."

"Chivalry…what a bitch," Kiba poked fun.

Naruto rolled his eyes. "I know, I sound like a whinny brat but I don't know if we can be friends. I keep pushing him away cause I'm too worried about the next step."

"But I thought that was what you wanted? Now you saying you can't even be friends with em?" Kiba asked in total confusion.

"It would be all good if we didn't keep ending up in these really awkward situations."

"Likeeee?" Kiba squinted figuring that the story would get juicier.

Naruto began to explain, "He texted me before I left work yesterday, said he wanted to see me."

"O, that's not bad, he was probably bored." Kiba brushed it off.

"Did I tell you he kissed me?" Naruto continued.

"Holy crap dude when the hell did that happen?" Kiba's face lit up.

"Saturday. But it wasn't just him, I kissed back." Naruto said with a head shake. He thought he was stronger than that but it turns out Sasuke would always be his weakness. Just talking about it was getting his blood warm.

"The hell? No wonder you're all sensitive. Why didn't you tell me?" Kiba complained.

"I've been trying to forget about it and keep things normal but I can't."

Kiba bent down to rub Akamaru's head. "So you don't wanna be with him but you don't wanna be without him. Dude you're a piece of work."

Naruto thought about the raven's words. I'm not going to hurt you…I promise. Maybe Sasuke had changed. Maybe he wouldn't hurt him again. Maybe he should just stop fighting it and reunite with him. Naruto recalled how it felt with Sasuke's body pressed up against his own, their heart beats moving at the same pace. It was a beautiful moment. "Right after, he asked me if it was too late…"

Kiba waited to hear the rest.

"I told him I wanted him in my life no matter what," Naruto recalled his passionate words. He meant every bit of what he said. "Then he took me home, walked me to the door and that was it."

Kiba could tell Naruto was seriously missing Sasuke. It wreaked big time. Wanting to be with someone so badly but being too afraid of the pain it might cause. "Damn man. I get where you're coming from with this but don't like make yourself miserable trying to force yourself to be happy…if that makes sense," Kiba scratched his head.

Naruto looked over at his friend. He smiled. It actually did make sense in an abnormal Kiba kind of way.

"The parties here," Shikamaru said as he and the others hiked up the hill.

Akamaru barked happily.

Kiba made a face as the others totally intruded on him and his bestie's moment. "Took you wads long enough," Kiba said pretending to catch an attitude as soon as he noticed Sasuke.

Naruto headed for the tree. "Hey," he said as he and Sasuke crossed paths.

Sasuke smirked. "Hey," he repeated before he perched on the edge of the cliff where Naruto had just been.

"Are you still gonna act mad every time you see him?" Shikamaru asked with thin patience for Kiba's theatrics.

"He wasn't mad when Sasuke handed him the key card for his pent house," Choji remarked.

"Who the hell asked you tubby!?" Kiba barked.

Choji stopped chewing for a second.

"Relax, you guys are always so unruly." Shikamaru scoffed as he walked up beside Sasuke.

"I should so go push his ass over the edge," Kiba laughed manically.

Shino looked at the male who was contemplating murder.

Naruto, who was rubbing Akamaru's stomach, looked up at Kiba and wondered what he was cackling at.

Kiba slapped his hands together and pulled the stashed joint from behind his ear. "Refreshments?" he asked as he licked the item in hand.

Naruto shook his head before stealing a glance at Sasuke. He wondered if he was upset that he never responded to that text.

Kiba whipped out his lighter, lit his blunt threw his head back and took a couple pulls. "Ohh, man that is good…"

"Everything ok between you and Naruto?" Shika asked the raven who seemed to be in good spirits since returning to school.

Sasuke looked over his shoulder at the blonde then back over the cliff. "As good as can be," he replied modestly. He wondered why Naruto hadn't responded to that text the night before.

"Hhm, as long as things are civil," Shikamaru responded.

"All I can do is try…" Sasuke spoke up.

"I get it," Shikamaru approved. He was well aware of the conflicted feelings between the two so it was beyond great that everyone could be together again with no drama.

"Hmmp," Kiba grunted in Sasuke's general direction as he approached with a mouth full of smoke.

Sasuke took a long drag before handing the joint back off again. He let the smoke from the herbs linger in his chest before he exhaled thick white clouds into the atmosphere. His head was as clear as it had been in a while, he would give Naruto time but he would not give up.

After Graduation

"Congrats," Shikamaru spoke from behind causing his girl to turn quickly.

The smile that was plastered over her face decreased a bit as she approached him.

"You saw," she said accepting the flowers he had in hand for her.

"Of course. I told you I wouldn't miss it," Shikamaru reminded.

"Thanks," Temari said skipping the usual hug/pounce she always had waiting for him. Whenever she saw him it was like the first time she'd seen him in weeks, it didn't matter if she had just seen him 20 minutes earlier, she was smitten. But lately there was a difference.

The difference was obvious. "No hug?" he asked causing her to wrap her arms around his slender body. Shikamaru drew his brow. He wasn't sure if he had done something but Temari was not acting herself.

Though he had to ask her for a hug, Temari held on tight. She only released her beau when Kankuro's words echoed in her mind.

"So celebration dinner tonight? My treat of course, where ever you want to go," he offered trying to get things back to normal.

Temari and Shikamaru began to walk. She eyed the many graduates around them still dressed in their caps and gowns as they chatted and congratulated each other. She hadn't been here long enough to really know any of them so they all passed by going on about their business.

"Earth to Temari," Shikamaru waved a hand at her.

"Huh?" she fake smiled. "I'm sorry, just a bit over whelmed. What were you saying?"

"I asked where you wanted to eat tonight. I could make us some quick reservations," he repeated.

"Uh, I guess you choose," she shrugged as they came to the field exit.

Shikmaru scratched his head. This was really beginning to bother him.

"Shikamaru, you were hiding out huh?" asked a voice from behind causing the two teens to turn.

"Ah, Ayande, yeah we we're up on the hill," he gestured.

The girl grinned. "O, well congrats," she said to Temari who was looking less chatty.

Temari nodded.

"I was looking for you, Shizune reminded me about the tutor luncheon I wanted to see if you were going."

"Yeah, Tsunade threatened me so I guess I don't have a choice," he agreed.

Ayande laughed. "Ok then. I'll see you there," said the brunette as she ducked away.

Temari looked the other way.

"Ja'ne," Shikamaru waved her off. He looked back to his girlfriend.

"Oi, there's Baki," Temari pointed out. "I guess I oughta go."

"Ok. I'll call you," he reassured her as she began to depart.

She shot him another phony look.

Shikamaru watched her get into the car. He could feel that something was up, he had no idea what though.


Ringggggg, ringggg, rinnggggggg

Naruto looked over at his cell as the item rang and vibrated at the same time. "Neji," he picked up.

"Naruto," Neji said with a smile. "Care to hear something crazy?"

Naruto closed his new laptop. "Sure."

"I'm outside," Neji said in a 'surprise' tone.

Naruto hopped off of his bed and headed to the door. He cracked it open and peeked down the driveway. He smiled and closed his phone as his eyes connected with a pastel colored pair.

"Sorry to just pop up like this," said the chocolate haired boy as he walked up the ash vault.

"It's cool," Naruto said without being too sure.

"I felt bad because I'd asked you to lunch then got caught up with Shizune,"

Neji said stepping inside.

"No sweat, I went to lunch with the guys after." Naruto publicized.

"O, ok. So what were you doing?" Neji changed topics.

"Nothing, just online trolling around," Naruto replied as he climbed over the back of the chair.

Neji walked around and placed his keys on the small coffee table then sat. "I came straight here from the school."

Naruto nodded. "So wait, that means you skipped Aikido this afternoon?" he asked as if concerned.

"It's fine. I called to let Master know. Hey did I tell you he's letting me host a few classes this summer?" Hyuga boasted.

"Wow! I knew you were better than him," Naruto grinned.

Neji let out a light chuckle as he watched Naruto closely. Things had gone back to feeling awkward between them. "So we'll be on summer break in a couple weeks' time."

Naruto slapped his hands together to praise the gods. "And I for one can't wait."

"Are you going to be working at the coffee shop still?" the chocolate haired boy inquired. He only asked to gauge how much time he'd be able to work in with Naruto.

"Ehh probably, if not I'll end up sleeping the whole dang summer away."

Neji smiled. He wished he could still say he was making plans with Naruto but that had changed.

"Did you decide on those courses yet?" asked the blonde about a previous conversation they had had.

"Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and get an early start." Neji confirmed.

"O…sounds fun…" Naruto lied badly.

"It's ok, you can be honest it sounds amazingly boring," Neji shrugged.

"OMG YES!" Naruto balled his fists tightly. "It sounds HORRIBLE. The last thing I want to think about this summer is school."

They both laughed.

"Shikamaru is doing the same thing though. Trust me I totally laughed at him too," Naurto added.

"It's fine. I mean I'm used to it," the intellect shrugged.

Naruto looked at him with a grin. Momentarily he blushed as he thought back to one of their more intimate moments.

"You know, I'll still be able to hang out sometimes," he announced.

Naruto's smile got bigger. "Awesome, you deserve a break."

"I would like it if you and I could do something some time. Like the time we went to the amusement park at the Valley of the End."

"O yeah! When we rode all those rides and you wanted to barf," Naruto doubled over with laughter.

"Right," Neji recalled the sea sick faces he made as he hovered over a trash can. "That was quite funny."

"That was nuts," the blonde concurred wiping a tear of joy from his eye.

"If I recall correctly we had a lot of fun during that break," Neji threw out some bait.

Naruto knew exactly where Neji was going with this. "I know," he said quietly. He was back to that spot again; the spot between a rock, being Sasuke, and a hard place, known as Neji. It was a major dilemma which had no right answer. Naruto recalled how Neji had stuck by his side during that two week period trying tirelessly to cheer him up knowing how broken hearted he was. Maybe he was at that point where he needed to focus on moving forward, not backward. "We always have fun. That's what I like about you. You make me feel like…"

"Like what?" Neji asked hanging off of Naruto's every word. He wanted him so badly it hurt. Day after day he dreamt of nothing but having Naruto all to himself, even if only for a little while. Finally his time had come and he wasn't backing off. He wanted to make sure Naruto didn't forget how well they complemented each other.

"Good," the blonde near whispered.

"That's a relief. For a while it felt like the opposite…"

Naruto dropped his eyes. "It's not you, I wanted to explain things to you but the last time we talked we kinda agreed not to talk about it so I don't know."

Neji knew it had to do with Sasuke and his bull.

Naruto felt guilty. Even though he wasn't in a relationship with Neji, he felt responsible for his feelings. They were both vested in each other and Naruto's indecisiveness was the only thing keeping them apart.

Neji moved forward, his lips connecting with the blonde's. It felt so good. It had been so long.

Naruto felt his loins constrict as Neji's body rubbed against his own roughly. Reaching up, he cupped the back of the other male's neck, Naruto pulled him closer as he too was craving the good touch.

Neji's hand traveled the length of Naruto's thigh then under his shirt and to his torso. "Naruto," he breathed heavily in between kisses. Neji would stop at nothing to show him how he longed for him every minute of every day.

"Mhmmm," Naruto hummed as their tongues twirled around in a whirlwind of passion. This is it… Naruto thought about how right it felt being with Neji.

"I've missed you…" Neji readily admitted as he removed his shirt and unbuttoned his pants quickly.

But… Naruto dropped his head. He just couldn't shake the raven from his mind. Naruto pushed away. He felt queasy all of a sudden, his body was trying to tell him something.

Neji leaned back and examined the other boy's features. "Narut-"

"I'm sorry," the blonde interrupted as he leapt up from his seated position.

Neji grabbed his shirt. "What is it?" he asked thinking it was obviously something he did.

"No, nothing…" Naruto pressed his lips together tightly. He always did this! What would he say?

"Did I do something?" asked the dark haired boy as he stood and approached the other teen.

Naruto gripped a hand full of his own bright hair and grinned. "Ahh, no I just, I'm really tired."

Neji noted the boy's defensive stance. "Ok. I'll go."

No matter how confused Naruto was, he knew he never wanted to be cruel to Neji. He felt bad for playing games with him this way. "No, stay. I'm gonna jump in the shower."

"You sure?" Neji asked after a second of consideration.

"Yea, I'll be right back." Naruto said touching the boy on the arm before vanishing.

How could he still be going through this? Naruto leaned against the shower wall with one arm as he let the water cascade over his head and run the length of his nude body. He reached up and felt the left side of his chest to make sure his heart was still working correctly. If he was serious about not dating Sasuke, why couldn't he just allow himself to be with Neji? He touched his bottom lip, he knew he couldn't keep this up. Neji made him feel good but Sasuke made him feel great, there was no comparing the two. Naruto's stomach spasmed, someone was going to end up hurting, it was inevitable.


Sakura pulled the covers all the way up to her nose as she prepared for her mother to enter.

"Honey, why aren't you dressed for school?" asked Mebuki as she stepped over to her daughter who was still in bed.

"I have a fever," Sakura said simply prompting her mother to lay a palm over her forehead.

"You don't feel warm," she commented.

"I have a stomach ache," Sakura replied quickly.

Mebuki pressed her lips together. "Sakura do you want to tell me what's going on?"

The pink haired Kunoichi blinked hard.

"Is it Sasuke Uchiha?" asked the older woman. It was alwayssss Sasuke Uchiha.

Sakura squeezed her eyes tighter. "I just don't want to go to school today, ok?"

Mebuki looked over her daughter once more. "Ok Sakura. I'll be down stairs, if you want to talk."

Sakura wiped her face as a single tear rolled out of her eye. She listened closely for her mother's fleeting steps. How could she even begin to explain to her mom what was happening in her life at the moment? She was fighting with the only friends she'd ever known, she had alienated herself from Naruto and Sasuke was back at school meaning they would eventually bump into each other. How did things go so wrong? How could she survive these last days of her junior year without falling apart?

Around 2nd period

"Tell me you talked to Sasuke about Taka," Kiba stated as he shoved a paper into Naruto's face.

The blonde squinted as he stood trying to read the print that was oh so close.

"Monday? Guest guitarist? What is this shit!?" the tattooed boy howled.

Naruto took the sheet and stared at it some more. "So they're playing again?"

"There's only one guitarist in Taka and that's Sasuke." Kiba pitched a fit.

Naruto lowered the paper. "Wait, doesn't Suigetsu play a guitar?"

A vain throbbed over Kiba's eye. "Suigetsu plays bass, he's a bassist."

"Ahhh," Naruto nodded. "So what, you think they replaced Sasuke?"

Kiba shook his head. "Only one way to find out," he pointed as the raven rounded the corner with Shikamaru close by.

"Hey, are you playing Monday?" Naruto asked as he handed Sasuke the ad.

Sasuke looked down. "Where did you get this?"

Kiba poked out his bottom lip as Naruto thumbed in his direction.

"They can do whatever they want," he said flatly.

"Oh that Suigetsu, I'm gonna knock his ass out. He's got it coming," Kiba seethed.

"Sooo, you're out?" Shikamaru questioned through the commotion.

Sasuke shrugged and handed the sheet back. "I'm going to Kakashi's," he said before moving on.

"I need to smoke something," Kiba shook his head.

"Well to be honest one pony doesn't stop the show," Shikamaru stated.

"I should go talk to him," Naruto said taking off.

"But it's his band so I don't understand how they can put him out," Kiba harped as he and Shika headed for the back hall.

"We don't know the circumstances. You know how intense Sasuke can get sometimes," Shikamaru replied calmly.

"Well I know where we're going Monday night…" Kiba said thrusting his fist into his open palm.

"Sasuke-" Naruto called out as he followed the dark haired boy up the stairs.

Sasuke turned.

"You ok?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke's eyes traveled the blonde's body. He was resisting this urge that was building inside. He kept reminding himself that him and Naruto were only friends. "I'm fine," stated the raven eerily.

Naruto raised a brow. "Really? I mean this is your band-"

"Naruto," he began. "It doesn't bother me." He told partial lies.

"You're allowed to have a reaction you know," Naruto countered.

Sasuke redirected his attention. "At this point it doesn't even matter. I have other things to focus on," one of those things stood right before him.

Naruto stared forward at his former beau. He blushed as he wondered what Sasuke was referring to. "Ok," he conceded. Naruto was no stranger to Sasuke's stubbornness. Though Taka was one of the things he held dearest to his heart he'd never say so. "Hey, look…if you wanna talk about it…" he left the statement open.

Sasuke looked at him for a second. He would have to leave now. He hadn't gotten laid in a while and was in desperate need of skin on skin contact, and not from Sai. Sasuke nodded in agreement.

Naruto watched as the raven haired boy continued for the third floor. He felt drained. Every time he did this with Sasuke he had to hold so much in. He huffed and headed for his next class dreaming of the moment when he could finally be honest with Sasuke and honest with himself.


"Thanks," said a random business man as he turned with his buttered muffin and iced tea in hand.

Sai nodded as he'd been in a pissy mood all day. Staying at Sasuke's was turning into hell and working with Naruto made him physically sick; yeah he was beyond pissed.

Naruto checked and double checked the clock on the wall. He scratched his head not really sure if the big hand had moved any. He glanced over at his coworker and then refocused on stocking the shelves again. Sai had been very quiet. There was building tension and Naruto didn't know why.

Sai touched his phone which was positioned in his shirt pocket. Phantom ring… he thought as he realized it was not Sasuke returning one of his half dozen phone calls. It was eating him up inside. Everything Itachi said, the way Sasuke had been acting, hysterics were beginning to set in. "Have you heard from Sasuke today?" he asked without moving his eyes from the register.

Naruto was baffled by the random question. "Uh not since school…" the blonde trailed off as a follow up question burned on the tip of his tongue.

"I had reached out to him in hopes of doing an interview for the paper," Sai explained knowing the next thing out of Naruto's mouth would be 'why'.

Naruto didn't think twice. "O, sorry. We were texting but I haven't heard from him since earlier."

Sai was a bit relieved at the fact that Naruto always volunteered just a little more info than asked.

"If you want I could text him again," the good natured blonde offered going for his phone.

"No," Sai said in a hurry. "It's fine. I just sent the email the other day. I'm sure he'll get to it." He added a faux smile.

Naruto agreed. "Cool."

"All locked," Naruto said as he pulled the chain that hung on the store gate.

Sai nodded.

"Ok, later," said the trusting teen as he saluted the other male and headed down the street.

Sai waited a little longer. He lifted his cell to his ear and listened to the same endless rings he'd heard earlier.

"Please leave your message after the tone. Sorry the mail box is full," stated the automated system. Sai hung up just as his cab pulled to the curb. "The Uchiha compound," he stated once he shut the door.

Once nestled into the back seat of the yellow car, Sai hit the redial button. As he listened to the phone continuously ring he grew more and more frustrated at the fact that Naruto and Sasuke were once again on such good terms. He didn't appreciate it at all. He really hoped that Naruto would get kidnapped by a gang of rouge ninja on his way home.

Soon after

"Ehh, work was lame." Naruto complained as he ran is fingers along his stomach. He traced the intricate pattern that was etched into his skin. He'd stared at that symbol so many years he could follow every line perfectly without having to look.

"Sorry to hear that. Now are you sure you want to spend the whole summer there?" Neji inquired.

"Yea, you're right. I don't know what Sai's deal is. He's off and on like a light switch," Naruto complained about the boy's shadiness.

"Well it's your call but don't let a negative situation put a damper on your break," said the Hyuga teen who seemed wise beyond his years.

Naruto smiled. Neji always knew what to say.

"And that said, I won't hold you on the phone forever. I just wanted to see how your day was."

"Thanks Neji," Naruto said as he too realized they'd been on the line over an hour.

"Hopefully I get to see you at some point this weekend," Neji suggested hoping that the next time he stayed over Naruto's house they would do more than just sleep.

"Yup," Naruto agreed with a stretch.

"Ok, goodnight."

"Night Nej," Naruto said as the line disconnected.

Naruto looked over at the clock. He let out a tremendous yawn as he stared off into the ceiling. His eyes lids were heavy. The thought of Sasuke passed through his mind. Call him? He proposed in a sleepy state. He yawned again as darkness cascaded over his being. Within a split second he'd gone to the Valley of the End. Miraculously he waded across the water top, each step creating more and more beautiful ripples. He looked out and noticed ripples from the opposite direction. Slowly his lips moved but the audio was a few seconds late. "Sasuke…" His eyes met the raven's as Sasuke was now just mere inches from his own face. Naruto felt excitement cast over him like never before. As the moved to approach the heir, a gentle breeze rustled pass shifting the other male's midnight locks.

Sasuke's lips moved but unlike Naruto's, no sound followed at all.

"SASUKE!?" Naruto shouted as Sasuke suddenly disappeared. Where could he have gone? The question resonated through his mind. "SASUKE!" he called one last time before he too dissipated.

Downtown Konoha

"Don't be nervous," Kiba says while planting firm kisses onto Ino's neck.

"But Kibaaaa…" her voice quivered as his teeth grazed her skin. "Ahhhhh."

Kiba was as determined as ever to make Ino feel good. "Is that nice?" He asked trying to remember all the moves he'd read in Ichi Ichi Paradise as he made a slow decent down south.

The blue eyed girl panted in response to her boyfriend who had unlocked her gated heart one crude joke at a time. It had taken her a minute to get over Kiba's initial grossness but the more they were together the more she liked him. Besides, he was all bark and no bite which made him the perfect yutz for her. "Haa, haa, Ki-eeeeee," she squealed as his tongue glided over sacred skin just below the navel.

Kiba slipped his fingers into the band of her soft pink panties and pulled.

Ino popped her head up to take a look below. Am I really doing this? Is this really happening? She asked herself in a moment of terror. He kissed her inner thigh causing her to shake her doubts about Kiba. He'd gone through all this trouble, a fancy dinner, a chauffeured town car, a pent house; it was really clear that he held her in high regards. High enough to not get her in the backseat of his sister's car and claw at her like a lunatic, even though that had happened before. She heaved in and out once he managed to get her underwear to her ankles and pull them over her feet. He stared for a minute which caused her utter embarrassment as her shade went from rosy to beet colored. He's really going to! Suddenly she braced for impact as he came in close again and laid his lips on her clitoris. "AHHHH!" she gripped the bedding fiercely as he began to move his tongue back and forth, up and down.

Kiba smirked as the girl underneath him twisted in what was either extreme pleasure or excruciating pain. He figured it was the earlier of the two since Ino was not shy about voicing her discontent, or knocking him in the head with a closed fist. The young novice moved intelligibly around his partner's anatomy only stopping once her legs shook wildly and her moans turned to wails.

"Haaa, haaa, haaa," she breathed heavily as her clutch on the boy's head loosened.

"Jeez Ino," Kiba said before wiping his mouth with his arm.

Ino's chest rose and fell rapidly as she tried to maintain her composure. "Com'er," she said reaching out and snatching him down again. She threw her arms around his neck tightly.

The two locked lips again before the male slipped his hand below once more.

"Ayeeee," she growled as his fingertips came in contact with her already swollen vulva.

"You ready?" Kiba asked licking his lips as he grabbed himself and got into position. He paused before moving any further and placed his lips on hers.

They kissed for a few minutes till Ino's anticipation got the best of her. "Give it to me…" she whispered in his ear as she tugged on a hand full of his hair.

Kiba bared his fangs, Ino was still as much of a lioness now as she was any other time and it really turned him on.

The girl bit down on her bottom lip as she felt her partner begin to slide inside of her. No words escaped her mouth; deep labored breaths were all the noise she made now.

"Nhhhh," Kiba grunted as he pushed himself into the tight space. It felt a thousand times better than he expected. "Oh, shit…" he whimpered after reeling back and pushing in again. He looked down to gauge Ino's reaction. Her face was completely flushed and her eyes were shut tight. He wet his lips as the look of sex on her face excited him even more.

Ino arched her back as her nails dug into his skin harder. As she experienced a mix of both soreness and elation, she felt every hair on her body stand up. She didn't feel awkward or shy, she felt in control and as his rhythm increased so did her desire. "Ahh, ahh, yessss Kiba, yesss!" she cried out reclaiming her voice.

"Oh, shit…Ino, I'm gonna-" he called before letting out a great sigh of euphoria and burying his face in her neck.

Else where

Sai decided now was the time to address this madness. He couldn't hold it in any longer. "I think it's extremely unfair that I'm only here at your convenience and then when everything is going well for you, you act like I don't exist."

Sasuke looked up from his French book at the male who had just stormed into his house in an obvious confrontational mood. He didn't agree with Sai on much but he too felt that now was as good a time as any to get some shit off his chest. "You're right. I'm a fucked up person. You should probably go," he said easily.

Sai's heart did a hand stand, "Just like that?"

Sasuke felt no reservations about his words. Sai's time was up. "You knew it was coming. You don't want to be here, and I don't want you here."

The art student held his breath. "He decided to take you back?"

Sasuke refused to answer that since it wasn't the case. He could only hope that Naruto would make that decision but for now he needed to distance Sai because if Naruto did choose to be with him again, it would only be harder if prolonged. "What did you think was going to happen when you came here?"

"I don't know Sasuke. All I know is you wanted me, you used me to take your mind off Naruto and I did that."

"Right, and now I don't need you anymore." Sasuke stated frankly. He didn't need the company, he was done with the drugs, he was really trying to get his act together this time.

"How do you feel about me Sasuke?" Sai was desperate for one last try. He would do anything in the world to make Sasuke love him but it didn't seem like it was going to happen.

"I don't love you."

Sai's face tightened up. "You said that with ease."

The raven shut his eyes, "I'm not going to lie."

"And you love Naruto soooo much don't you?" Sai asked as his heart tore into little pieces.

"Get over it," Sasuke scoffed as he went to move away from this finished conversation.

Sai dug his nails into the palm of his hands. "Are you sure of Naruto's feelings for you Sasuke? Because I would hate for him to be toying with you and you-"

"Why are you still talking?" Sasuke called out from the hall.

"Ok Sasuke," Sai spoke as he headed for the open door to follow the raven. "I'm just looking out for you. Even if you don't return the feelings I have for you, I still don't want to see you hurt in anyway. I'm with Naruto every day at the café. We talk about everything, he confides in me."

Sasuke's ears perked up as Sai shadowed him.

"I don't know what he's telling you, but he tells me about Neji all the time. I see it, he picks him up, drops off dinner, I mean they spend a lot of time together…I really think he's in love." Sai spoke slowly and quietly. He didn't what to upset Sasuke but he did want to detach him from Naruto.

Sasuke was deep in thought. Was that the real reason why Naruto was so apprehensive about giving him another chance? It was always in the back of Sasuke's mind though Naruto adamantly denied it, "He told you this?"

Sai knew he was going to have to take matters into his own hands. As long as Sasuke had doubts, he would be safe. "Not in so many words of course. But I can read through Naruto's façade, it's not very hard." Sai could see the commotion building within Sasuke. "I really wouldn't say anything but I feel like he's stringing you along…you don't deserve that," Sai continued. "I wouldn't be saying this to you if I didn't care. I want you to be happy, and I'll do anything it takes."

Sasuke's mind was steadily moving. He thought about how well he and Naruto had been getting along the last week. Could Naruto really be way more involved with Neji than he admitted? Maybe that was why Naruto wouldn't let him get any closer. Sasuke hoped that wasn't the case. He moved quickly. He had to know for sure.

Sai took in a deep breath, it had worked. As long as he stirred the pot, Sasuke would never fully trust Naruto. Sai watched in confusion as the raven grabbed his keys. Wha? He questioned inwardly as he dark haired boy zipped out the door.

Even later

Naruto held onto the glass of water in hand tightly as he stared off into space. He really hated having weird dreams. He bit down on his lip as he tried to figure out what it meant. Was his subconscious trying to tell him that Sasuke would disappear out of his life? Great… he thought cynically. That was probably the last thing he wanted to happen.

Knock, knock, knock

"What the hell?" Naruto mouthed as he approached the basement door.

Knock, knock

He heard it again. Setting the glass on the counter Naruto took off down the stairs. Cautiously he cracked the door open.

"Sasuke?" he said peeping around the boy.

"You said if I wanted to talk…" Sasuke reminded.

"Yeah, yeah, come in." Naruto accepted moving to the side in a light shock. Sasuke hadn't been inside his house in so long, it felt surreal.

Immediately the paler teen turned to the blonde.

"I can't wait. I have to know, do you love me?" he asked right off the bat his onyx eyes reflecting pain.

"Sasuke what's going on?" Naruto was baffled.

"I need you to be honest me."

Naruto wasn't sure what Sasuke was going through right now but he couldn't lie. "Of course I do."

Sasuke reached his hands to the teens face. "I don't care about anyone else. I just need you to tell me that we'll be together."

Naruto was almost panicked. What was happening right now? "Sasuke, I-I want to be with you."

Sasuke pressed his forehead to Naruto's in relief. Amidst all the hate and distrust and uncertainty, hearing Naruto say such simple words had given him miles of faith. If Naruto wanted him to wait he would do that.

He was sure Naruto was everything and he needed to know that love would eventually conquer.

"Sasuke?" Naruto asked as he reached up and placed his hands on the back of the raven's who was still cupping his face.

"I'm sorry for barging in like this…I just couldn't go to sleep another night without hearing you say that," Sasuke said releasing his grip. "I'll see you tomorrow," he added before taking a step towards the door.

Still dazed and confused Naruto stopped him. "Wait," he began. "You should stay," he said wondering if this had anything to do with his dream. What if Sasuke walked out the door that night and was gone forever? Naruto couldn't fathom the possibility. He didn't know what his dream was trying to tell him but he couldn't risk it. He wanted, no needed Sasuke to stay.

No sooner than Naruto made the offer, the raven struck.

Naruto backed up until his body hit the chair. "Mhhhm," Naruto shivered as Sasuke descended upon his frame leaving only wet kisses in his wake.

Sasuke pulled back and grabbed at the blonde's pjs as Naruto simultaneously slipped his hand into his own boxers. Once again joining mouths, Naruto caressed his throbbing penis with eagerness. It had been far too long and he was oh so ready to be taken by his ex-beau.

Sasuke leaned back a bit taking pleasure in the fact that Naruto was as anxious as he was to get naked and nasty. The sight before his eyes was beautiful. Naruto's shoulders heaved as he huffed in and out proving that there was no bad blood between them, they equally wanted one another. Sasuke opened his mouth to say something. The words were right there. "I," he stammered as his brain attempted to wade through waves of desire in hopes of keeping him from saying something that was completely revered but 100% true. "I love you," his tongue crippled as it reached the last syllable of the phrase. This was in fact the second time he had told Naruto this.

Naruto looked Sasuke directly in the eye. "I love you too, teme," he announced proudly as they rejoined and flipped over the couch. If Naruto didn't know anything else, he knew that he wanted Sasuke on top, inside and all over his body. Reaching out, the blonde took Sasuke's manhood into his slick warm hand. As he pleasured himself with his right he simultaneously stroked Sasuke with his left.

Sasuke's adrenaline rushed as he watched the scene play out. "Huhhh, huhhhh," he heaved as Naruto bent down and touched the tip of his tongue to the tip of his penis. Sasuke's veins bulged as the blonde licked on his pulsating cock causing him to tremble. Dammit! He scolded himself as he fought back the temptation to explode. It had been so long and his body had been yearning for Naruto.

"Mhmmm," Naruto slurped as the instrument in hand reached a maximum level of stiffness.

That was it. Sasuke could hold it no longer. "Haaaaaaaaaaa," his body constricted as he came all over the other males chest.

Naruto smiled wickedly as the sticky substance oozed over his skin. He exhaled in pleasure as he watched Sasuke's form weaken. It always pleased him to make see Sasuke in such bliss. Naruto finally realized just what he was missing.

The black haired male took his member in hand then gently milked the final remains of his orgasm before noticing that Naruto was still fully erect.

Dropping to one knee in front of the blonde, the ingenious teen grabbed one of the blonde's thighs and pulled him further down into the seat.

Naruto had a full view of what was happening below his waist now. He pursed his lips as Sasuke gripped his penis and ran his hand up and down the shaft. Shutting his eyes momentarily, Naruto recalled the last time they were together, it had been too long. Naruto breathed deeper, heavier, his mind drifted farther as he experienced top notch delight. Sa… His mind called out. Saasuuu-

"Ahhhhhhhhnnnn," Naruto groaned as he envisioned the raven's slippery tongue massaging his rock hard erection. Tanned knuckles turned white as his fists tightened on the cushion in expectation of showering Sasuke with his juices. "HAA, HAAAA, AHH-" Naruto clenched his teeth as he spilled what seemed to be every ounce of his soul in that very instance.

Sasuke came back up and kissed his blonde right in the mouth mixing saliva. Everything inside him screamed. Naruto was dead sexy without even trying. Sasuke could feel his cock rise again. He sat on the couch and grabbed the blonde by the waist then hoisted him onto his lap.

Naruto could feel how hard Sasuke was. He leaned forward and connected their lips and tongues.

Sasuke slipped his hand down below and positioned himself for entrance. His legs locked up as he slowly made his way inside of his ex.

"Mhhhhhh!" Naruto squirmed as surges of pain gradually eased into waves of enjoyment.

"Uhn uh, where you goin?" Sasuke asked lightly as he wrapped his arms around his partner. He moved inside slowly, building a steady rhythm.

"Mmmmm, mhmm, Sasuke…" Naruto called out arousing the raven further. Naruto ensnared Sasuke with his arms making sure he was as close as possible as he moved getting well-adjusted to the pace.

Sasuke breathed heavily as his blonde bounced on his lap causing him to slip deeper and deeper inside. The harder he went, the higher he felt. Naruto was it all along. He was always the ONLY drug Sasuke had ever needed. He hated that it took him this long to realize but it was something he'd never forget again. He looked into Naruto's face, he was really in love. No matter how hard he tried to fight it, it was fact. From the weird whiskers, to the obnoxiously bright hair to the nonsensical scribbles on his belly; Sasuke was in love with everything about Naruto. "Ahhh," he exhaled, it was happening again. He was close to cumming and it felt wonderful.

"Yess! Sasuke, yesss!" Naruto chanted.

"ARRRGGGGHHH," the raven gushed as Naruto dug his nails into his back.

"Mhnnn," Naruto hummed as he melted into Sasuke.

Quietly they existed together in their own world just the two of them. Naruto rested his head on Sasuke's collar bone as they both wildly took in air. He felt the raven work his fingers into his own. Naruto smiled and squeezed Sasuke's hands to let him know it was real. They didn't speak. There was nothing left to say. They belonged together. Finally they realized it.