Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, unfortunately; I might actually be able to afford a car if I did. Nor do I own the lovely '80s classic "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead Or Alive, which inspired the title. XD
Warnings: Boy love (NarutoxSasuke): don't like, don't read! Swearing. Brace yourself for the abuse of parentheses and italics that comes with my writing style, as well as some absurdly-long sentences. And Sasuke's voice in the first-person, which is very slightly OOC.
Notes: I started this weeks ago, when I was still giddy from the start of summer. But, alas, my computer died, and I sort of lost my stride. This was supposed to be purely humor (though a bit of fluff snuck in)--basically, this was an outlet for me to mess with Sasuke and make a fool out of him, seeing as I have major issues with him in the manga lately. (Though he's in my OTP, I enjoy seeing him suffer. Muahahaha?) This is my feeble attempt to offset the wangst that is the state of the manga right now.
In this, they're just normal teenagers-- they don't have angsty pasts, nobody's parents are dead, etc. That's why Sasuke's a bit OOC, because he isn't quite the angsty little bitch without all that drama. (Plus, the story is from his perspective, so it gives the impression that he's much more talkative than usual.) Please forgive me; I tried to keep him as true to form as I could, given the circumstances he's in.
My original intention was to post this for my FFdotnet anniversary, which was on June 30th. I give my sincerest thanks to everyone who has reviewed and supported me over this past year-- especially my dear friends sha la la. oh my-my and Kaikouken, whom I dedicate this to. Much love to you both!
Since I'm too late to post for my anniversary, I'm posting this for Saucekay's birthday instead. Enjoy!
It was with copious amounts of both boredom and desperation that I ventured into Oto that dull summer day.
My break had finally arrived, and after a particularly hellish morning of attempting to polish hopelessly-scratched DVDs and scraping who-knows-what off old videocassettes (honestly, how the fuck does peanut butter end up on a VHS tape?) for what I was certain was below minimum wage, I found that I couldn't stand the sight of the cover of one more low-grade porno movie without losing the fine lunch I'd just ingested of prepackaged market sushi and a bag of the stale popcorn my boss was desperately trying to push off on unsuspecting customers.
So given that the array of nearby establishments I could escape to was limited to a nail salon, a discount shoe store, and Oto, my choice was obvious.
It wasn't often that I went into Oto. As record stores went, it was decent (nothing spectacular, although a little too dimly lit in my opinion—done most likely to appease and entice the goth kids who often skulked about outside, dressed head-to-toe in black on the most sweltering of summer days and drinking artificially blood-red slurpies from the gas station down the street with as much enthusiasm as they allowed themselves to express).
Actually, I had intended to apply at Oto when I first (regretfully) sought summer employment in this vapid wasteland of a strip mall. Yet after one look (or should I say, "wink") from my would-be employer, I found myself filling out an application for the video rental place next door before I even registered what I was doing. It had seemed like the preferable situation at the time.
That was before I came to discover that "video rental store" was in actuality a clever ruse for "adult video rental store, without the necessary permits".
I suppose my first clue should have been that my boss read porn all throughout my interview.
My boss liked to justify the whole situation by saying that, with the sheer mass of free internet porn in existence, the only obvious way to earn an "honest" dollar was to illegally rent out porn for cheap—mostly to married men and underage teenage boys.
It also seemed of no importance to him that his new hired help in said illegal distribution of questionable materials was just shy of seventeen.
(It's always a delightfully excruciating experience to rent out porn veiled oh-so-cleverly behind cheaply-made covers with titles parodying wholesome, "feel-good" family movies. Especially when it's some of my classmates fidgeting awkwardly and not meeting my eyes as they pay to check out such fine films as The Little French Mermaid or The Ladies and the Tramp. "Feel-good", indeed.)
So, needing to get away for the blissful twenty minutes of my break, I braved the 11 ½ perilous steps between Fun Time Video (again, the sheer subtlety of my unfortunate place of employment was truly astounding) and Oto—bypassing the goth kids who liked to glower at me whenever I passed, convinced that I was a "scene" kid—and strode inside.
I hadn't thought to brace myself for anyone else but Oto's creepy pedophile of a manager. But the guy arranging a shelf of CDs was instead tall and blond and tan and handso—
Oto Employee turned and, with a smile that lit up his whole face (and the whole store, and, quite possibly, the most far-flung corners of the universe) issued the standard Hello-how-are-you?.
It was right about then that I began to wonder if that popcorn Kakashi had forced on me was so stale that it had somehow mutated and started sprouting into little corn monsters that flitted about and made my stomach twist and tingle—right at the same instant Oto Employee looked at me with what were unquestionably the bluest eyes I'd ever seen.
I'm not sure how—or even if—I replied, because he kind of looked at me with a strange expression. But then he smiled again, looked me right in the eyes, and said:
"Sorry. The new Nervous Breakdown! At the Sock-hop CD isn't in yet."
My eye twitched.
...I could almost feel the goth kids snickering. At times I really regretted my hairstyle.
With not a single intelligible response forthcoming, I turned and left him blinking perplexedly after me, and blocked out the sound of his uttered Have-a-good-one! with sheer willpower (and a reinforced glass door).
I was not attracted to him.
I found myself in Oto again just one day later, for reasons I couldn't quite fathom.
(I was not attracted to him.)
Oto Employee greeted me in that same damnably chipper way I'd adamantly refused to assume when dealing with customers. (As my boss mainly lounged in the back room and read porn all day, he didn't really mind.)
His nametag, pinned to his broad-and-probably-quite-nicely-sculpted-not-that-I-was-looking chest, read Naruto Uzumaki.
"You work next door, don't you?" He asked, out of the blue. I was certain he remembered me from the day before, but he (wisely) said nothing. "At the…video store…?"
I sighed. Oh, how I hated my life. "…Yes. Unfortunately."
"Uh, how'd you… er, come to work there?"
"It was out of… self-preservation." I grit my teeth. Yeah, that was one way of putting it. "More like the need to save my ass—literally," I muttered darkly, under my breath.
"Wha—?" he lifted one hand to scratch behind his head. Then, presumably, understanding took a moment to thwack him upside the head, for his eyes widened and the hand dropped. "Oh."
"…You thought about applying here, but—"
"Right... Good call." He shared my grim look.
That awkward point of mutual understanding reached, I then began aimlessly sifting through the CD racks. I wondered for the umpteenth time why I was even in there, for I'd never been too interested in music. Naruto returned to stocking the store, humming along to songs as they blared from Oto's sound system. It was just the two of us in the store—not uncommon, as the accursed strip mall was more or less deserted, especially at the height of the day. An almost…companionable silence—if you could call it that—settled between us.
Until he chose to obliterate it.
"You have no idea what you're looking for, do you?" an unmistakably amused voice murmured, from just behind my left shoulder.
(I did not jump. Nor did I attempt to stab the owner of the disembodied voice with the edge of a CD case.)
When I turned around to fix him with a Glare of Certain Mortal Demise, Naruto was grinning at me like the cat that not only ate the canary, but also ingested a small chicken farm.
"Tch. It's called browsing, dumbass."
"Mmmhmm. So what types of music do you like then, Sasuke?"
How in the hell does he know my na— Oh, right. Nametag. Damnit.
"Hn." I really didn't like that grin.
"Well?" I really, really didn't like that grin.
"I have to get back to work," I hissed, pushing past him to exit the store. There was no way in hell I'd let that idiot think I'd gone in there to see him, of all absurd notions.
"See you tomorrow, Sasuke!" he called after me, and there was laughter in his voice.
"Like hell you will, idiot." Yet I think we both knew that I'd be returning.
But I was not attracted to him! I was simply…starting to take an interest in music.
…Thus began The Summer of Naruto—or, as I prefer to call it, The Summer I Finally Lost My Mind.
My friendship (begrudging as I was to admit it) with Naruto probably started with the first CD.
He presented it to me only a few days after we'd first met, grinning like he'd just handed me the secret to the meaning of life, or the recipe to the cure for cancer.
I stared down at it as if he had just handed me a dead rodent.
"What is this?"
He rolled his eyes. "I made you a mixtape!"
I had to raise an eyebrow at that. "What do you think this is, an '80s teen movie?"
He waved a hand dismissively. "We'll discuss your questionable movie preferences later, Sasuke. For now, let's focus on your musical education!"
I felt a headache coming on.
"Come on, just listen to it tonight. You'll like it, I promise!"
And as much as it later pained me to admit it, I did. I popped the CD in as I drove home from work, figuring I'd be stopping it before the first track had finished. But when I found myself still listening to it on repeat at eleven o'clock that night as I lay in bed, I was forced to suspect that I actually…liked it.
The CD didn't contain any of the crap on the radio that I'd never had patience for. Naruto had compiled a collection that encompassed an eclectic mix of genres—from loud rock music that screamed in my ears to soft songs that nearly lulled me to sleep. It was gripping and unsettling and beautiful and powerful, that music. I stared at the ceiling for a long time that night, with every spin of the CD a reminder that my life, too, was taking a most unexpected turn.
With the whole summer stretched out before us, Naruto somehow took it upon himself to teach me about music.
I learned quickly that he was truly perfect for his job. He loved music with a damnably infectious passion, and always seemed to help customers find just what they were looking for. He laughed too long, he smiled too wide, he was a complete idiot. But for reasons I never understood, I kept coming back.
(It didn't seem to matter that I wasn't looking for anything, because he was determined to find it for me anyway.)
It became a daily routine between him and I that I came into Oto—I ate my lunch (or rather, whatever he didn't help himself to) and he played music. His boss was never there during those early afternoons—("I think he really likes daytime TV," Naruto responded, looking pained, and as a mutual shudder passed through us I really regretted inquiring about the absence)—so most days it was just the two of us.
Some days he went by genre; other days he'd go through the alphabet; others still he attempted to go by year of release. We would sit side by side in the spaces between the racks of CDs, with music playing above and all around us. (In those moments, it was as if time stilled around us, if only for the span of a three-minute-forty-eight-second track.)
He played song after song, and I took them all in—hated some, loved some, but listened to them all. He burned me CD after CD, with songs that filled up my car, my bedroom, my summer.
Naruto had a love of vinyl, too. Oto had a small section of used records in the back, which he handled with an almost reverent tenderness that I could never understand. "CDs and mp3 players are great," he said once, "but there's a certain kind of…love in the process of putting on a record." Even as I scoffed at him, he just kept grinning.
For my seventeenth birthday that July, he gave me a record player he'd found at a garage sale.
In time, I sort of came to see what he meant.
("You seem in higher spirits these days, Sasuke—or at least, you glare less noticeably at the customers," my boss told me one day, one eye crinkled up as he looked at me from behind his porn. "Have you been watching some of our fine films?")
("You seem… happier lately, Sasuke," my mother told me one night, smiling at me as she sliced vegetables for dinner. "Are things going better at work?")
(Things had not, in fact, changed at work—the only difference was that by that point I was spending most of my pay on CDs and records.)
Before I knew it, summer was drawing to a close.
I could have never imagined I'd face the end of my time in that strip mall with anything less than overwhelming, soul-crushing relief.
Let alone… reluctance?
I knew it was because of Naruto.
Though it pained me say it (a pain, I'm sure, comparable to a hernia, or an especially delightful bout of kidney stones), I would miss spending my lunch breaks in Oto. I would miss the CDs he made me, and all the music he played. I would even miss his not-quite-off-key-but-hardly-on-key singing, his shit-eating grin, and all the crap he liked to spout about music being magical because it made people really feel.
(I would miss him.)
It still didn't mean that I was attracted to him.
I was not attracted to him.
I realized it on the Monday of my last work week.
(I was not attracted to him.)
It struck me while I was renting out cheap lesbian porn to an overweight, middle-aged man.
…hopelessly infatuated with Naruto.
It took some time to process (read: internally sorting through my thoughts while staring blankly on the outside at the aforementioned customer, until he shuffled awkwardly away with his rental), but I knew I could no longer deny it. So once I'd come relatively to terms with it, I chose to do what any self-respecting Uchiha would do.
I avoided him.
It was for the best, I decided. I'd only known the guy for two months, and even if we had become friends, he lived all the way across town and went to a different school than I did. In all likelihood, I'd probably never run into him again once our jobs ended.
(Kakashi, mercifully, didn't say a word when I ate my lunch in the back room with him. I had the distinct feeling, however, that he was smirking at me behind his erotica.)
It was difficult to avoid Naruto, however, when every song I heard reminded me of him. He was everywhere, goddamnit!—in my car, in my room, in the songs stuck in my head. And it was his entire fucking fault!
By my last day of work, I couldn't take it anymore.
Steeling my resolve, I decided to walk in there, buy a CD to maintain my cool image, and calmly, subtly, tell him.
…So on my break I stormed out of the store, stomped past the goth kids, yanked open the door to Oto, grabbed the first CD I saw, slammed it (gently) on the counter, and opened my mouth.
That was about the point when Naruto let out a peal of raucous laughter.
I watched, slack-jawed, as he wiped his eyes and gradually composed himself. He glanced down quickly and then back at me, eyes dancing. He leaned forward toward me over the counter, arms folded over his elbows, brow quirked, a lazy smirk stretching across lips that still showed remnants of his laughter.
"Do you like…dancing queens, Sasuke?"
I stared at him, thinking this was all the affirmation I needed to prove that all the music had damaged my hearing.
Until I looked down.
And saw that there was an ABBA CD under my hand.
(I wondered if "humiliation" was a justifiable cause of death listed on a death certificate.)
I opened my mouth again, hoping that something would come out of it and somehow magically return a shred of dignity to me.
Instead, Naruto leaned forward a bit more and kissed me.
My first thought was that I'd probably have to buy the CD, as the crack in the case didn't look too promising.
My second thought—and better thought, thankfully—was to kiss him back.
I felt his lips twist into a grin again as we pulled apart. I felt a bit dizzy, like everything had just been spinning very fast—or maybe just me.
"I'll give you the employee discount."
I blinked at him.
He nodded to the CD. "We can't sell it now." He chuckled, entire face alight with insufferable cheekiness, "Add it to your other CDs, call it all… a soundtrack to you falling in love with me."
Glaring, I swung at him. "I am not—!"
He kissed me again.
I never did come back from my lunch break.
End notes: I apologize for my gentle mocking/parodies of the following: Panic! at the Disco, scene kids (I know Saucecakes always gets the "emo" card, so I thought I'd switch it up a bit. Besides, everything about his hair screams "scene"!), goth kids, and ABBA. I bear no ill will toward any of them, I assure you.
I do not apologize for mocking/making fun of/shamelessly humiliating Sasuke, however, because he deserves it. :D
(Also, I started this way before I had any idea there was a new movie-musical coming out featuring ABBA's music. Yay for coincidences?)
Reviews, as always, are love!