Sweet Home Sasuke-bama
Comments: My second entry for Reyn's contest, a crossplay! My one-shot skills are steadily improving, lol. There's one category left now...historical...eh...:is baffled:
But yes, this is a crossplay to the romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama. May I disclaim that I do not own Naruto or Sweet Home Alabama, their characters or plots, and that this is a non profit story...and all that jazz.
"You're lookin' a little fancy to be drivin' way out there, don't you think?" the cab driver said, and Sasuke made a valiant effort to sweep past him and put his luggage into the trunk himself. He hated his hometown for more than one reason, and the blunt audacity of the people who lived there certainly didn't help. He handed a small folded piece of paper with directions to the driver and eagerly fastened himself into the backseat, anxious to get moving.
The cab driver paused after closing his door, leaning onto the opened window beside him, frowning. "You better lighten up," he said with narrowed eyes, and after a sharp glance from Sasuke he merely shrugged before climbing into the driver's seat.
"You city folk always come here like this place is some sort of hell," he commented, and started the engine. Sasuke didn't respond, mostly because he wasn't prepared to argue. He had come for one thing and one thing only and God help him if he let anything stand in his way.
His hometown was a surefire example of how you could do absolutely nothing for your entire life and still feel proud of yourself. For a self-made twenty-five year old business owner and entrepreneur, the mere idea of doing nothing was frustrating, and the fact he had to revert back to the lifestyle he had abandoned so long ago made his head hurt.
The cab twisted onto a side road, one he knew too well from his childhood days of traveling back home from the city, and he watched as the red cedars drifted past, bright green leaves forming a canopy over the dirt road. It wasn't as though it wasn't pretty, it was just too calm. He enjoyed the hustle-and-bustle of being in New York—the challenge of catching the subway and fighting for customers. He liked being busy and preoccupied with something other than his thoughts.
The toll box on the dashboard was flickering as the drive became more expensive, and Sasuke snorted, straightening the white button up he had diligently ironed before his flight. He was wearing black business trousers as well, his goal to look as serious as possible. If anyone doubted him his presence would keep them quiet; after all, out of the meager population of his town, he was the only one who had managed to successfully leave.
He grumbled as the taxi bumbled over a rockier road and frowned when the small town came into sight; like a picture fresh from his memory. Everything was still old—the buildings baked from the heat and faded from the sun. Old posters peeled off ancient stores and the few cars scattered around smelled like rust and boiled gasoline, an odor pungent enough to make Sasuke crinkle his nose and roll up his window.
He recognized a few people as the taxi drifted by, and everyone seemed to take note, as if a taxi cab was some rare pleasure and delight—which it probably was. He effectively ignored an old classmate as he waved from a broken little mechanics shop and focused on the road ahead, knowing that he was only minutes away from his destination.
Only one dirt road stood between him and that house, and he was happily reminded that it was pushed out of the way a bit; hidden in a thicket of trees and foliage. He didn't want to make a scene—in fact, he wanted to avoid any unnecessary confrontations as much as possible.
The house came into view and he pulled his wallet from his back pocket, handing a small wad of cash to the driver as he slowed.
"This is your stop," the driver said curiously, and Sasuke ignored the look of confusion on his face as he pulled himself out of the car, rapping on the trunk to get the driver to pop it open. In New York he may have been picky about the cabby not assisting him in getting his baggage, but in this scenario he preferred it if he did everything himself. The less mistakes, the better.
He yanked his bag out and readjusted the sunglasses on the bridge of his nose all before stepping away from the vehicle and waving it off. The driver looked like he found the entire situation amusing as he plowed off down the same dirt road they had arrived on, and Sasuke bent down to his rolling suitcase (which didn't roll too effectively on gravel) and dug through the front pouch for a familiar manila envelope.
"Um, can I help you?"
The voice caught him off guard and he shot his attention upward, the familiar sound of the front door creaking closed making his ears ring. He frowned as he took in the person he had come to see, looking the same as he remembered, staring down at him with big and curious blue eyes.
"Actually, you can," Sasuke said coolly, "by signing these." He extended the manila envelope and watched as the expression on the other man's face turned briefly to surprise before reverting back.
The manila folder was still in his hand, a fact he found problematic. He wanted it taken and signed so he could leave without having to make use of the overnight luggage at his side. However, knowing Naruto Uzumaki, he should have expected things to be a challenge.
"Of course. Who else would be forced to fly all the way from New York to make you sign divorce papers," he frowned, and he pulled his sunglasses off to reveal a very serious expression. Naruto was baffled, on the other hand, while he stood like the perfect representation of the laziness of the town, no shirt, mussed hair, and dirty denims that were too baggy for his slim frame.
"Ha," Naruto laughed after a minute. He grinned and Sasuke felt that stubborn nature of his return before the blond man turned and strolled back into his house, completely and effectively ignoring Sasuke and his outstretched arm of plea.
Sasuke stomped forward up the old wood stairs of the country cottage-like house, whipping open the screen door as he debated on what kind of methods to use to get the man to sign the papers in his hand. He heard water in the kitchen and fumbled towards the sound, feeling irate.
"Naruto, sign these papers," he demanded, and he watched as the blond skillfully ignored him while washing a few dishes sitting in the sink. Sasuke's patience was leaving him and he slammed the papers on the counter, his expression growing sterner.
"I'm getting married Naruto," he said, trying to be as blunt as he could, "so I need you to sign these—now."
As much as he hadn't expected it, this comment seemed to catch Naruto off guard. The blond turned, blue eyes calm and calculating, lips parted in thought. There was a moment of silence while he examined Sasuke's face before holding up his left hand, revealing a pretty little band on his ring finger.
"We're married, in case you forgot," he deadpanned and he stepped closer to Sasuke, pushing himself up on his toes a bit to meet his height, "and it takes two for a divorce. I'm not signin' these." Naruto reaffirmed his point by knocking the envelope onto the floor and walking out of the kitchen, leaving Sasuke bristling. After a deep and calming breath he knelt down and picked up the envelope, storming after the blond as he made his way to the living room.
"Uzumaki, I have tried to be calm about this," his voice didn't sound calm, "but it's time for you to grow up. I've moved on and I'm sure you have too, so whatever stubborn angle you're playing at, just give it up," he waved the manila folder again, and Naruto put a hand on his hip.
"Calm? Like you've tried to be nice?" Naruto frowned and licked his lips. "You leave without saying a word to anyone and then expect me to sign some court documents through the mail?" his abs visibly tensed as he stepped forward, and Sasuke tried not to notice. Naruto continued, "And now you show up here, without so much of a 'hey, you're lookin' good' or 'how have you been since I completely ditched you for my career'…and expect me to give in?"
Sasuke stared for a minute deciding not to admit that yes, that was how he had pictured everything happening. Then he raised an eyebrow and looked over Naruto's tan body, smudged from dirt from who knew what outdoor activity. "You're lookin' good?' Did Yamanaka's store run out of decent clothes or something?"
Naruto glanced down at himself before peering back up, letting his thumbs rest under the waistband of his jeans. The action caused them to ride a little lower, revealing the smooth indent of his hips that disappeared almost challengingly underneath the beginnings of a pair of white cotton boxers.
"If I remember correctly, you seemed to like me best when I wasn't wearing anything," he sounded thoughtful, and Sasuke fought to make his attention stay at eye-level with his significant other, avoiding the suggestive movements Naruto was using to attract his attention. Of course Naruto had been an amazing lover, but that wasn't the point. Sasuke scowled and rebutted.
"If only you had an ambition as big as your dick," Sasuke stated coldly. He didn't like how Naruto always managed to turn everything back to him—and it wasn't as though Naruto didn't know why things hadn't worked out. Sasuke had wanted to go places—to see things, and Naruto—Naruto was content sitting in the backseat, following him anywhere.
He didn't want a dog, he wanted a partner. He didn't expect Naruto to understand.
Naruto's grin settled into a smile, one that Sasuke knew all to well. He wasn't upset that he had hurt Naruto's feelings; it was the blond's fault, after all. Sasuke had been trying for the past seven years to get divorce papers signed, so there was no reason why he didn't have a right to be angry.
"You can't win them all, I guess," Naruto said softly, but after a minute, his demeanor changed as his stubborn personality returned. "How on earth did you find someone else to marry you with all the qualifications you've got goin'? This guy must have some kind of resume," he taunted, and Sasuke's expression stood firm.
"I'm marrying a woman," Sasuke said flatly, and Naruto, who had been laughing at his joke, went straight faced.
"You're marrying a what?"
Sasuke sighed and sat down on Naruto's couch, a new piece of furniture if he remembered correctly. It was comfy and homey, and didn't fit the frustration filling the room.
"A woman, a female, a girl—God's intended partner for man, whatever you want to call it," he listed, and wasn't entirely caught off guard when Naruto fisted the collar of his shirt and yanked him up, his eyes only this shade of blue when he was hurt and furious.
"Don't you even think something like that," he warned, and Sasuke merely shrugged.
"If you're going to punch me, then do it. I won't even block—just sign the damn papers so I can get out of here," he said coolly, and Naruto stared at him for a minute before pushing him backwards onto the couch. The blond leaned over to grab a shirt off the back of a recliner before yanking it over his head.
"Uzumaki," Sasuke drawled, and he only stared as Naruto made his way to the front door. Naruto turned a bit before shaking his head.
"I'm not going to punch you," he said, and then he opened the screen door and grabbed his keys from a shelf nearby. "Because unlike you, I don't intentionally hurt other people."
Sasuke stood up as Naruto left, feeling more aggravated than before. It was a few minutes before he heard the old beat-up Toyota that Naruto owned start and crunch its way down the gravel road, and he poked outside, frustrated to realize that he would have to use his luggage after all.
It was still sitting in the driveway where he had left it, and after he hauled it inside he decided to plan a new form of attack for when Naruto arrived home.
Sasuke was surprised when Naruto actually had food in his cabinets; from what he remembered, his counterpart had never really been anything near domestic. He didn't cook, he didn't clean—Naruto had just been full of energy and dreams that he had thrown aside for Sasuke.
Why Naruto couldn't see that it was a blessing he had left he would never know. Sasuke had found someone who complimented him very well back in New York. The ring he had bought her cost more than his first car, and the house they had been looking at was in a prime real estate location. Everything was coming up daisies for Sasuke's career.
Sasuke cooked up some chicken and fried potatoes along with some diced onions, peppers and garlic for seasoning. He served himself on a small plate that he remembered from years past, when Naruto and him were young and had first become engaged. It had been so long ago that he didn't even remember it all that well, but the Yamanaka family had given them the dish set as a gift—something he now found a bit laughable now that he was older.
No one had cared that they were young, or even that they were both male. Everyone in that town treated Naruto like their own little boy, and if he was happy, the world was happy. Apparently Sasuke had made him that happy because everyone loved them nonetheless and treated them as the inseparable duo that they were.
The front door creaked and shoes scuffed the hardwood flooring, and Sasuke wandered back out into the living room eating his last piece of chicken.
Naruto glanced over to him, somehow more dirty than he had been when he first left the house. "You're still here?" he asked, and he sounded genuinely surprised.
Sasuke sat down on the couch and tapped the manila envelope on the coffee table before settling back and crossing his legs. He must have looked placid because Naruto glanced down at the pocket of documents before walking forward and taking the dish from Sasuke's hands and trailing to the kitchen. Sasuke heard water running and a familiar scrubbing before the clatter of dishes being put in a dish washer caught his attention.
Naruto had never been this clean before.
After a minute Naruto came out, drying his hands with a washcloth. He glanced over at Sasuke and nodded his head a bit to get his attention.
"I'm going to the pub to celebrate in a bit," he said casually, "Shikamaru's havin' a baby." Even though he didn't say it out loud his comment was an invitation, and Sasuke snorted.
"I don't want to stay longer than I have to. Once you sign these I'm leaving," he said, and Naruto frowned. After a minute he perked up a little.
"It would be nice if you came and saw everybody, even for a night," he said, "I mean, you won't ever be seeing them again, will you?"
Sasuke's ears perked at that comment. Even though Naruto hadn't been direct, that was probably as much of a commitment to signing the papers as he was going to get. He watched as Naruto disappeared into the bedroom and closed the door, and he heard the shower run.
Seeing everyone didn't really intimidate him that much, although he knew he would have to put up with the grief of the fact he had left on bad terms. But if it was going to be at a pub, he didn't want to argue—he felt like he was well deserving for some hard liquor.
He had put his suitcase in the spare bedroom and he rifled through it for a change of clothes; some nice jeans and a black polo shirt, the most causal things he had thought to bring. He used the guest bathroom to wash his face and fix up his hair, although he didn't want to appear as though he was trying too hard.
He didn't need to look good to impress; he had the job and a fiancée to prove his success.
Naruto emerged shortly after, dirt-smeared jeans replaced with dark denims and a loose white-striped button-up shirt covering that tanned and toned body that Sasuke had a hard time not thinking about. His hair was less rambunctious as well, tamed and framing his face—which was more grown now that Sasuke took the time to notice.
Baby-cheeks had grown narrower and wide eyes had dimmed somewhat, making Naruto seem like a lot more was going on inside of his head then you would originally suspect. He fit into his height, even though he was still shorter by an inch or so, and his presence was wickedly commanding even without the business attire Sasuke had promoted for himself.
"You're coming?" the blond asked and Sasuke nodded.
"If it'll get you to sign those papers then sure," he said, and he didn't miss the contented look that crossed Naruto's face. He looked like a little kid again, one that had just won an argument.
"We'll take my truck," Naruto said and he didn't bother locking the door before drifting outside, and Sasuke glanced at it briefly before following. Everyone knew everyone in the small town so the danger of theft was hardly worth mentioning.
The cool night air had blown in quickly, although the heat from the day made it comfortable. The moon was high above the trees and the stars were like diamonds in the sky; there were so many. He and Naruto used to try to count them, when they were kids, but were never able to finish before the sun faded the horizon.
"What are you looking at?" Naruto asked from inside the truck, and Sasuke climbed up into the passenger seat, feeling awkward in such an old piece of work. The door clanked shut and the truck was jumpy as Naruto started the ignition, and he frowned.
"I forgot how clear the sky was here," he stated and Naruto nodded as he shifted to follow the road down.
"I think you've forgotten a lot of things about here," he returned, and though the comment wasn't aggressive, it wasn't false either. Sasuke had made an effort to forget quite a great deal.
"So tell me about this girl," Naruto said suddenly, and Sasuke glared at him.
"No," he stated.
Naruto glanced over to him and pouted. "Why not?"
Sasuke scowled before answering, "Because knowing you you'll try to contact her or something," he said honestly and Naruto laughed.
"Why would I try and contact her? You're the one with the thing for girls, apparently," he mocked and his voice still sounded disbelieving.
"I like her, Naruto, whether you want to get over yourself and believe it or not."
"Do you love her?" Naruto asked and it caught Sasuke off guard. He hadn't expected a question so forward and he wasn't sure how to answer it. His relationship with Sakura Haruno was different than his relationship with Naruto. He loved them both in completely different ways, but yes, he did love her.
"Yes," he said finally, but he didn't miss the look Naruto gave him when it took him a moment to answer. The pub was in clear view and Naruto parked, swinging open his door and walking to the hood to meet up with Sasuke. He remembered drinking there before he or Naruto were old enough to even drive, but such were the luxuries of close-knit towns.
Naruto took his hand, and Sasuke glared up at him. The look immediately distinguished when he saw the expression on Naruto's face as he pulled Sasuke forward, blabbering on about who would be there.
"Shikamaru and Ino are so happy together but we always knew they'd end up married, and Kiba's a mechanic—he'll probably be really excited to tell you about all of that. Oh! And he's trying to propose to Hinata so pretend like it isn't obvious that he's head over heels," he went on, and Sasuke couldn't help but be pulled forward, somewhat content by the incessant rambling that made Naruto… well, Naruto.
The door to the pub opened and Naruto burst in, grinning as everyone there turned from a bit of laughter to greet him.
"I come bearing a gift!" Naruto said, and he held up his hands like Vana White towards Sasuke, smiling. "Look who came all the way down just to congratulate you!"
Sasuke took in all of the familiar faces and expected the majority of them to give him downcast glares, but instead, they all looked surprisingly excited to see him. Ino jumped up from the center of the commotion, her belly round with the reason for the party.
"Sasuke!" She came forward and enveloped him and he froze against her, surprised. She squeezed him tight though and he felt his hand baby her back a little, trying not to look as awkward as he felt.
"Naruto hasn't told us much about you and college—and out of state, too! It's been forever!" She released him with a smile of anticipation on her face, and from behind her, a crowd built around him. He glanced around to find Naruto and make him get him out of the mess, but he was nowhere to be found.
"Yeah, big college boy, tell us all about it," Kiba Inuzuka came forward, his hair more wild than Sasuke remembered. He had grown into something fierce though, with an attractive face and muscles to boot. Naruto had mentioned he was a mechanic though, so it made sense.
"I'd like to hear, too," Hinata came up beside him, a person Sasuke had never imagined would overcome her shyness for the time that he had known her. In all the times that he, Naruto, and Kiba had snuck out to create mischief when they were younger, he never imagined that she would end up with the most rowdy of the three of them.
Especially when Sasuke had been jealous over her crush on Naruto for the majority of his high school days.
"It's not much to tell," Sasuke said, feeling overpowered. He had intended on making them speechless with his accomplishments, but it was different when they were excited for him—and not angry.
"Quit being modest," Naruto's voice finally cut through the crowd. He was seated at the bar, ordering a round of beers from Old Man Jiraiya—the person who Naruto called 'grandpa' for most of their youth. "He's a big business owner now, even if he won't admit it," he motioned towards Sasuke and grinned.
There was an excited hush through the crowd that had gathered around him and he glared at Naruto, not quite sure why he was forcing him to take the spotlight. He briefly explained big-city college and his jobs towards where he was at now, and he was shocked to see how inspired everyone looked. Ino rubbed her belly and sighed, smiling to herself.
"When this one grows up I want her to get out and see the world, too," she said, and she smiled back towards the tables behind her, where Sasuke noticed Shikamaru sitting for the first time. He was watching the situation with bored eyes, and Ino continued. "And you and Naruto are just amazing, to make it through all that time apart…"
Sasuke was about to nod when he did a double-take, letting his mind replay what he just heard. He turned to glance at Naruto but the blond was busy at the counter, fiddling with one of the taps, trying to even out the foam on one of the mugs of beer. Sasuke opened his mouth to say something but Shikamaru cut him off.
"Why don't all of you girls go get the presents ready?" he suggested, and Ino turned excitedly before grabbing Hinata's hand and bounding off, Kiba glancing between both men before grinning at Sasuke.
"I got my mechanic's license," he said proudly, and he puffed out his chest for show. Sasuke smirked; just as Naruto predicted.
"Good for you," he said and then he raised an eyebrow, "Are there many cars to fix here?" he asked coolly.
"Uh, have you seen the pieces of shit this town is driving?" he said sarcastically and Sasuke nodded, "Touché."
"Hey, Uchiha, long time no see." Shikamaru came forward with an expression bitterer than Sasuke's, if possible, and Kiba seemed drawn to help Naruto over at the counter.
"Hello Shikamaru," Sasuke said formally. The other man looked completely different from how Sasuke remembered him; he looked older, wiser, and more intimidating. He had been lazy when they were younger but now, he just looked focused and determined.
"Let's take a walk," Shikamaru said, and Sasuke only nodded, not wanting to make any sort of scene. Even though he and Shikamaru had rarely gotten along when they were younger, Shikamaru had always been Naruto's closest friend. He figured he was about to get an explanation of Ino's comment, and he didn't want to avoid it.
They stepped outside of the bar and walked ahead to the rim of the parking area, pausing at the old oak fence that separated it from the street.
"Jiraiya and I are the only ones in there that know you two aren't together," Shikamaru stated casually, and he put his hands in his pockets before speaking again. "It would be a waste of my energy to tell you how much of a prick I think you are for everything you've done, but I'd rather you not embarrass Naruto during this party."
Sasuke stared for a minute before feeling irritated. He frowned. "It's his own fault for lying if he gets embarrassed," Sasuke shook his head. Was Naruto really that naïve? To the point where he would lie about them still being a couple just to save face? "He should have just told the truth."
There was a brief pause before Shikamaru snorted. "He didn't tell them for your sake," he said, and Sasuke glared at him, looking disbelieving. Shikamaru shook his head.
"If all those people knew what you put him through, you wouldn't be able to set foot in this town," Shikamaru explained. He was staring up at the sky, taking in the stars just as Sasuke had been earlier. "But Naruto's a good person, and he didn't want to take your friends away by being selfish."
Sasuke opened his mouth to say he didn't care about any of the people here, but he couldn't make the words come out. Even if he wasn't willing to admit it out loud, seeing everyone again had made him content, and having everyone fawn over him with excitement had also made him happy, even if he had been startled by it. And after all, what was an accomplishment if there wasn't anyone to recognize it?
"It wouldn't be selfish for him to be upset," Sasuke said finally, admitting that the way he had left had been pretty underhanded. Shikamaru nodded beside him, looking frustrated.
"He was upset. But he wasn't going to take it out on you. Naruto only takes things out on himself—and you knew that when you left. You knew he wouldn't blame you if you never came back," Shikamaru stated, and Sasuke felt his stomach clench a bit, knowing that what the man next to him was saying was true. He knew that Naruto wouldn't ever be angry, although he had never expected him to be as stubborn about letting go as he had turned out to be.
It wasn't as though those feelings were gone, either. Loving Naruto had never been the problem, it was planning their future that had always gotten in the way.
"Anyway, it's good to see you're not too hoity-toity to come and say hello while you're here, so enjoy the party," Shikamaru said finally, and turned back towards the pub, Sasuke following closely behind. As much as he didn't want to admit it, Shikamaru's words had struck a chord in him, the same as the town had. He was remembering everything he had worked hard to forget—everything that made his past worth remembering.
When he stepped inside a small crowd was already surrounding Ino while she opened gifts, and Naruto came up beside him with a tall glass of beer. He took it after watching Naruto for a minute, remembering how he used to be able to just stare at that face whenever he wanted without feeling uncomfortable. He jerked his head away, feeling angry.
His whole mission of returning home was to divorce the idiot standing next to him so that he could marry Sakura in New York. It was Naruto's own fault if he couldn't come to terms with their separation.
Ino laughed as she unveiled the last gift and from behind the bar, Jiraiya started up some music and tossed a pool triangle to Kiba who was waiting anxiously by the pool table, across from Shikamaru. A few other classmates had joined into the commotion and even Naruto dragged Sasuke over for a game, their skills nearly unbeatable.
After all, when they were younger, there had been nothing better to do than hang out at Naruto's grandpa's place playing the game.
Sasuke drank a few more beers as did Naruto, and laughed at Kiba's attempts to woo Hinata from a distance. It was all just like high school only this time, Sasuke wasn't sure where he belonged.
"Everyone was so happy to see you, Sasuke!" Naruto wasn't drunk, but he was edging on tipsy as they both arrived back at his house. Sasuke pulled of his shoes at the door and nodded, although now that it was just him and Naruto, business seemed like business.
The manila folder was still stationed on the coffee table where he had left it, though Naruto had seemingly forgotten about his hint to sign it when they returned. The blond was in the kitchen drinking a tall glass of water when Sasuke leaned against the door frame, arms crossed.
When Naruto finished his last gulp and wiped his mouth with his sleeve, he cocked his head to the side. "What?" he asked.
Sasuke frowned. "You're going to have to tell them sooner or later," he said, and Naruto's smile fell a little.
"Do you want some water?" he asked, and Sasuke shook his head. "Or food? I could make something," Naruto turned to rifle through the refrigerator and Sasuke stepped forward and pulled him back, whipping him around.
"The only thing I want from you Naruto, is for you to sign those papers," he said firmly, and Naruto closed the refrigerator door before standing in front of Sasuke, his eyes narrow and focused like he was searching for something inside Sasuke's eyes.
"I'm not lying," Sasuke said, but Naruto only stepped closer, trapping Sasuke against the kitchen counter. Their bodies were close and Naruto's breath was heated against his neck as he leaned forward, bright blue eyes still searching for something unnamed.
"Have you really forgotten?" he asked suddenly, and the question caught Sasuke off guard. He felt Naruto's hand rest on his hip, a gentle touch that he remembered from long ago, and he felt himself once again drawn to the man in front of him.
Naruto leaned forward and brushed his lips across Sasuke's, letting his hand travel underneath his black polo shirt, hesitantly roaming over the smooth skin beneath. Blue eyes closed as if to savor the moment, before soft lips parted to speak.
"Because I remember everything," Naruto said, his voice somewhere between passion and pain. "I remember everything we did, everything you like, everything you hate…" Naruto's hand became more forceful at it traveled up Sasuke's back and came through the collar of his shirt, running up into is hair and pulling Sasuke's lips down more aggressively onto his own.
"I remember every place on this body that made you moan," Naruto said, and Sasuke groaned and Naruto kissed him again, slowly, languidly before pulling back, "and I remember every idea in this head," he tightened his grip on Sasuke's hair slightly, "that made me certain you would make something of yourself."
Blue eyes searched coal black for some sort of recognition, but Sasuke only stared, leaving Naruto to ask again, "Have you really forgotten?"
Sasuke didn't answer, but that seemed to be enough of one for Naruto. He stepped away from Sasuke and untangled himself from the taller man, leaving the kitchen with an expression Sasuke couldn't bear to look at.
He heard the master bedroom door close and he went to his own, prepared to dress down for bed. Even though he wanted to answer Naruto firmly with a 'yes', how strongly his body had reacted to those simple touches was an even firmer 'no'.
He leaned over his bed and closed his eyes, trying to understand his feelings. He had left for all of the right reasons. He was successful now—accomplished, and about to marry the mayor's daughter. Everything was set up perfectly for him—everything he had worked so hard to create was waiting in New York—so why did Naruto make this so hard for him?
Why was he so hard for Naruto, after all of this time?
Sasuke hated being confused. He hated lying even more, however. He turned from his room and went down the hall, pushing Naruto's door open with force that was just a little unnecessary. The blond was sitting on the edge of his bed when he glanced up, looking confused and concerned about the door that had just made a dent in the wall behind it.
"What's wrong with you?" Naruto said, and he jumped up to examine the wall, all before Sasuke came up against him from behind, one arm weaving around his waist and the other tilting Naruto's chin up, revealing a long stretch of neck. Sasuke kissed that neck softly and Naruto almost froze against him, confused.
"How could I forget," Sasuke breathed against him, the hand that held Naruto against him lowering to grip a jeaned hip. "How could I forget when for seven years I've been forced to remember, sending you paper after paper…" his voice drifted off as he continued to kiss Naruto's neck, following the arch up to the blond's ear, satisfied to hear a sharp inhalation as he nibbled on a soft spot there.
He paused after a moment and just let his breathing wash over the figure in front of him, before Naruto turned around, peering up at him with knowing eyes.
"You would have forgotten by now, if it really wasn't worth it," he said and he poked Sasuke in the stomach, directing him backwards until he came against the bed and fell against it. Sasuke couldn't take his eyes off Naruto, every scene from their life together replaying in his mind. Naruto's eyes were like fire, like nothing in the world was more important than what was about to happen.
Sasuke let Naruto kiss him, using his own hands to unbutton the collared shirt Naruto had donned for the evening. He tasted like beer and smelled like that ridiculously sugar-coated cake, and Sasuke couldn't get enough of it. The buttons weren't releasing fast enough and Naruto's kisses were too slow, making his heart run marathons on its own.
He groaned as he ripped the last two buttons off, yanking the shirt to the side as Naruto shrugged it off and settled over him, urging Sasuke's shirt to be removed as well. He hastily obeyed as Naruto straddled him, his tongue winding tortuously over Sasuke's, his breaths fast and uneven despite.
The kiss broke momentarily as Naruto took in the sight before him, letting his fingers trace unseen pictures over Sasuke's toned stomach and up to his chest—and even further up to his neck and to his lips. "I love this body," the comment was breathy and Naruto slipped his finger into Sasuke's mouth, letting out a terse breath as Sasuke sucked on it, still gazing somewhat seriously up at the blond above him.
He didn't even want to think about what they were doing—to contemplate if it was right or wrong. It all felt so natural—like something long forgotten that was perfect, even when he couldn't admit that in reality. He let Naruto push him back against the bed, let coarse hands grasp his sides while a hot tongue teased his chest—moaned as an even hotter mouth enveloped his nipple and nursed it in an all too familiar way.
Naruto certainly hadn't forgotten.
When Naruto's mouth and tongue left the heated confines of Sasuke's skin his fingers took the lead, rubbing, roaming, teasing those areas most sensitive to Sasuke's being. The blond leaned down, his voice full of eagerness, "Are you sure you want this?"
Sasuke wasn't sure, but he didn't want to think. This was why he couldn't be around Naruto—he made him lose track of things, made him content with being in one place and in doing one thing. He made him feel lost, willing, and weightless...ready to submit to anything.
And that's exactly what he did.
When Sasuke woke up, he felt different.
He felt more relaxed than he could remember, and his head wasn't throbbing with ideas to get Naruto to sign the paperwork. In fact, he hadn't even made an effort to think about it until he realized the blond wasn't next to him when he rolled over. He took his time to wake up before pulling a blanket over his figure and wandering down the hallway to the living room, searching for the person that seemed to unintentionally render him completely helpless no matter what the occasion.
After checking the rooms he frowned, wondering where the blond idiot had wandered off to. He was about to check and see if his truck was outside when a surge of tan caught his eye in the form of an opened manila envelope. He let his eyes narrow before wandering over to it, completely surprised to see the papers sprawled out and signed on the table. The very top page had a sticky note that read:
I didn't want you to forget me.
Sasuke felt himself return to his old state of mind, but couldn't fathom why he felt so upset that the mission he had come to do was complete. And what it meant—what the night before had meant—seemed too far from him. It had been everything he remembered—sensual, meaningful, hasty and passionate—but it was also something he could never do again.
He found his way to the guest room and got dressed, gathering his belongings before pausing in the living room to collect his paperwork. He called a cab and waited patiently for one to arrive, wondering why Naruto wasn't being his usual self and begging him to stay. Why he wasn't even there when he knew for damn sure than Sasuke had no intentions of ever coming back.
It made him angry and frustrated him, almost like he would miss that challenge—like he wanted something to bug him and make him wonder if New York was really where he was meant to be.
After all… even though he had become something amazing—all of his friends were happy for him, and excited for him—as if they welcomed his changes with open arms and wanted to hear all about his big adventures. It made him wonder if change was really a good thing.
Especially when he didn't know what he wanted anymore.
The cab honked from outside and he left, taking one last glance at the house he and Naruto had been so excited to buy when they were younger. It was lived-in—more than he would have imagined, especially for Naruto. He shook his head and ducked outside, hoping that seeing Sakura would ease his mind and settle his heart.
"Mr. Uchiha, sir," the secretary was standing in front of him, looking nervous as usual. The papers in her hands were ones he had seen time and time again, and ones he wasn't willing to re-read again.
"How can I help you?" He asked and his voice was bitter.
"Um," she stepped forward, her lips a bit pouty as she glanced around before extending the papers to him. "I know that you don't have an interest in this but our investors are really wanting to know who your company will sponsor…"
He made no effort to retrieve the papers from her hands, only stared. She glanced back with an anxiety he hadn't ever seen before, and it made him bark.
"Why are you staring at me like I'm going to bite you?" he asked, and she looked cautious before answering.
"I'm not sure what—"
"I want to know why everyone around this damn place has been treating me like an amoeba and not a manager," he said again and whatever fear the young secretary had drained somewhat as she stepped forward.
He eyed her before she finally submitted.
"It's just that—ever since you got back from your trip you've been really—"
"Really what?" Sasuke interrupted. "Mean? Angry? Concerned about the standings of my company?" he supplied, and the secretary cowered a little.
"Sad," she said, and the comment caught him off guard. Of all the things he had been expecting, 'sad' definitely wasn't one of them. "It's like you don't know what you want anymore," she said after glancing down at the stacks of papers in her hands.
Sasuke didn't say anything because she was absolutely right. It had been weeks since his trip and he still couldn't get it together. Beforehand he would have worked himself to death—reading and signing anything she put in front of him. Now, it was almost as if he wanted nothing more than to make someone else do his job; like it was losing its flame.
Sasuke glanced up as his secretary frowned, looking as though she had words she was afraid to release. He stared at her for a minute, and she seemed to take the hint.
"It's not my place but…" she glanced out the window behind him, as if afraid to make eye contact. When her eyes came back to his, they were focused and determined. "If you don't want to marry her—don't. You're not happy; you won't be happy—"
"Why are you presuming this is about my engagement?" Sasuke interrupted, feeling irritated again. His secretary cowered a bit at his tone.
"I'm a woman," she stated, "and I can tell these things. You have a great career sir—I mean, of course you do… you don't need to get married for the sake of saving face to the investors…" her eyes looked as though she expected to get yelled at, and as though she gave up completely, she continued on, "I mean, let's face it. You're both only with each other because you look good on each others' resume."
Sasuke glanced up at the secretary, shocked that she had said something so blunt. Yet, what she said was very true. They were the perfect poster of success… but the type he knew all too well was little more than an act. He didn't want that act anymore—he didn't want to pretend.
He wanted something real. Like the passion he and Naruto had… the type that never seemed to fade. He felt slightly guilty for being so crude to his secretary, especially when she surprisingly read him better than himself. He decided to apologize and change the subject.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get aggressive," he said, and she nodded, obviously not expecting such a kind form of apology. "These sponsors really hold no interest for me, and I won't do it unless you make me, apparently," he mumbled. "So please list them out and we can decide together."
The secretary looked surprised for a minute before she nodded enthusiastically, flipping open the first pamphlet.
"Alright, this is uh… Cellular Enterprises… they're offering a free cell phone to all employees if their product is placed in our upcoming commercials…"
Sasuke snorted, "Alright, next," he said, and she shuffled to the next pamphlet. "City Scape Bakery… they want us to invest—"
"No. Any sponsor with the word invest' is out of the question," he said and he rubbed his temples. The sun was beating onto his back through the window and he felt irritated and ready to go home.
"A lot of these have 'invest'," the secretary said and she dropped a few onto the ground beside her in disregard. "Oh, here's one," she said and she held it up to read it better.
"Oh, it's different though," she said and she skimmed it. "It's a new newspaper about to be released statewide. They say they'll review all of our paperwork and advertise for free…"
Sasuke listened as her voice faded and raised an eyebrow. "What newspaper?"
"Uh," she twisted the paper around, searching for a title. "I think I misplaced the first page. But it says here that Naruto Uzumaki is the lead columnist, if that rings a bell… and Neji Hyuuga is the chief editor—Oh! It's produced in California."
Sasuke stared at her before he jumped up from his desk and stalked over to her, his eyes disbelieving. "Where? Where did you read that?"
The secretary held up the paper and pointed, and sure enough, two familiar names from his past were printed at the top. It didn't make any sense.
Naruto had stayed back home his entire life—he couldn't have gotten hired to be a columnist—and you needed a college degree for that as well. And Neji—he was a cousin of Hinata's Sasuke hadn't heard about for ages. Some rich family member going to Harvard—a school not even he was able to make it into.
It couldn't be true—not unless…
"I've got to go. I'll be back in a couple of days," Sasuke said, and his secretary only nodded as he rushed out of the door, calling to book another flight.
As luck would have it, Sasuke was stuck with the same taxi driver he had the first time around. This time the man seemed wise enough to not make mindless chit-chat though, which for some reason irritated Sasuke. What had ever happened to southern hospitality?
He frowned, remembering that when he was young everyone had been chatty. His hometown had effectively drawn him back in, more specifically Naruto. It was obvious to him now, and it had been obvious to him three weeks ago when he had returned home. So obvious that he had called off his engagement and buried himself in work, trying to forget about the passionate encounter.
He tried to convince himself that it wouldn't work between him and Naruto—that it hadn't once and that it wouldn't again. But the problems between them had always involved ambition—and if Naruto had really stepped forward—actually, Sasuke didn't even care anymore.
The Naruto he remembered was the one he wanted, even if this whole newspaper fiasco was a fluke. He needed Naruto in his life—he was the one person Sasuke couldn't for the life of him forget, no matter how hard he tried.
The cab pulled into the familiar brush surrounding Naruto's house and Sasuke leapt out and ran up the steps, bursting in the front door like a madman. When his eyes locked with Ino's in the kitchen she screamed and he even stumbled backwards.
"Sasuke—what on ear—"
"What the hell—" Shikamaru came around the side of the house, staring up at Sasuke like he was the devil himself.
"Sasuke! What's wrong with you?" he chastised as he came up the stairs and brushed by in an attempt to see if Ino was still alive and breathing. "As if she's not enough without being eight months pregnant, you've got to come charging in like a crazy person," he said before snorting. "Ugh, how troublesome."
Ino was calm however, as she hovered over a crock-pot full of something that smelled suspiciously like a pot roast.
"Uh, where is Naruto?" Sasuke asked, and Ino tasted a bit of the concoction before glancing over to him.
"Come inside, for Christ's sake," she motioned and Sasuke obeyed, still confused. Where was Naruto? Why were Shikamaru and Ino inside his house—as though they lived there?
"How is it that you don't' know where he is?" Ino asked with a grin on her face, almost laughing to herself. Shikamaru seemed to save the day, interrupting her.
"He just left for California, since he's been living out there the past couple of years," he said, and Sasuke raised an eyebrow.
Ino glanced between them momentarily before putting a cover over her meal. She came forward and gave Shikamaru a weary eye. "Of course Sasuke knows he's been living out there…" she said, but it seemed as though she was slowly catching on.
"That's impossible—he was here," Sasuke said, ignoring Ino. Shikamaru crossed his arms across his chest.
"He sold this place to Ino and I a year after you left to get some money for college—he's been out doing that ever since. He visits a couple times every year and this time we were with Ino's parents so we offered to let him stay here."
"That's impossible," Sasuke said, trying to imagine. So Naruto did pursue his dreams…
"It's not impossible, it's Naruto," Ino said suddenly. "I'm not sure what's going on but you shouldn't say things like that—I mean, you and Naruto are the ones of us who got outta this place and made something of yourselves, right? Impossible…" She chuckled a little and Shikamaru motioned towards the door.
"Why'd you come back?" he asked, and Sasuke frowned, feeling his heart do cartwheels in his chest. After everything, Naruto was still the person he loved—the relentless stubborn person he couldn't let go.
"I had to," he said before turning towards the door. "I left something important here."
He jogged down the outer porch steps and Shikamaru called for him from behind, tossing him a ring of keys. "Take the truck—and go down to the pub. If you're lucky you'll catch him."
Sasuke stood for a moment before nodding, feeling ridiculous as he climbed into the beat up old machine Naruto called his 'baby'. He struggled to turn it on and had an even harder time getting it to go forward, but once he got it rolling, the beast made headway. The pub wasn't too far, and hell if he was going to lose Naruto again.
All of the years spent without him ran through his head and that one night that seemed to make up for all of them was stuck like glue to his memory. He hadn't felt right in New York—how had he convinced himself he was whole without Naruto?
The pub was in sight and he swerved into a parking spot, crawling out of the huge tank of metal as a familiar voice cut straight to his heart.
"Shikamaru—what on earth are you doing to my baby?"
Sasuke met eyes with Naruto and Naruto stopped midstep, looking at a loss for words. He found some, apparently.
"Sasuke?" he asked, and Sasuke came forward, angry.
"Why didn't you tell me you went to college?" he asked, and Naruto frowned.
"What? Was I supposed to write a letter back with the divorce papers?" he put a hand on his hip in rebuttal and Sasuke couldn't say anything in return. In retrospect he really had been a jerk.
There was a long moment of silence before Naruto spoke. "Look, if that's all you came here to ask, you would have done better to just call," he said, and Sasuke noticed a small piece of luggage in his hand. He frowned as he followed Naruto's eyes—looking off into the distance at an approaching cab.
"Naruto," Sasuke said, and Naruto glanced over to him, looking completely different not half-naked and misleading. "When I came here, you looked like…"
Naruto frowned. "I was helping Kiba at the shop before you came," he explained, and then added, "and I didn't see any reason in telling you anything else because you were so desperate to get back to your fiancée."
Sasuke flinched. "I'm not marrying her," he said softly, and Naruto looked like he hadn't heard a word he said.
"I'm not marrying her, Naruto," he said louder, and the blond looked a little surprised.
"Alright," he said, unsure of what else Sasuke wanted. Sasuke could sense an awkward tension before he stepped up closer to Naruto, ignoring the fact the cab had just parked for him.
"Be honest with me, Naruto," he whispered, "when you signed those papers—is that what you wanted?"
Naruto blinked and stared at him before looking thoughtful. "Whatever makes you happy, Sasuke."
Sasuke's heart skipped a beat. "Naruto, do you want a divorce?"
There was a long moment where the cab driver watched with a confused interest in the situation and Naruto looked examining again before shaking his head. "Of course not."
Sasuke felt like his world was right for the first time in ages.
"I tore up the papers. I don't either—I want us," he said and he kissed Naruto briefly, "I want this."
Naruto stared at him before glancing over to the cabby and holding up a finger in wait.
"What are you talking about? You've been trying to get me out of your life for seven years." Naruto sounded angry, and even hurt. Sasuke snorted.
"No, I've been trying to forget you were in it for seven years," he rectified, "and I can't. I need you, somehow…"
There was a long break where Naruto glanced over to the cab and back to Sasuke before pulling him forward.
"We're both headed to the airport," Naruto said, and Sasuke was confused when Naruto practically shoved him in and followed. The car started and took off, and Naruto frowned.
"I think we should still process those papers," he said, and Sasuke scowled, looking confused. "After everything you've put me through, I'm damned about to make you propose all over," he said, and Sasuke was content when Naruto leaned against him, not arguing.
"I'll make it up to you," he promised, and Naruto only nodded sarcastically.
"I will." Sasuke stated, and Naruto glanced up at him.
"We live in two different states," he said, and Sasuke snorted.
"It never stopped us before."
They both grinned and settled into the smooth rhythm of the cab, ready to begin again.
a/n: AWE. Yeah, I know, LOL.
HEY. So of course there is an unedited version posted on AFF (the link being on my profile page) and you are all welcome to visit it. I'm sure many of you will ask, 'hey, why didn't you just post it here...no one would report you...!' but please believe that I've had my fair share of threatening reviews, lol. I'd rather not test it.
Thank you very much for reading and reviewing and I hope this was as fluffy to read as it was to write.