Sasuke sighed as he heard more noise coming from outside. The lair was normally quiet due to its desolate location, but someone or something was causing a lot of (annoyingly loud) commotion outside. He opened his eyes, knowing he wouldn't be getting any more sleep. Picking up his katana he swung open the heavy wooden door and looked into the corridor, wondering who dared to disturb his sleep. Orochimaru was standing outside his room. He shuddered, glad he hadn't been asleep. God knows what Orochimaru might have done if he had managed to sneak into his room undetected. A slow grin spread across Orochimaru's face.

Sasuke glared, angry at the interruption. Orochimaru would still train him just as hard tomorrow and now he would have even less sleep. "What?" he growled, gripping his katana. Orochimaru smirked; Sasuke would not regret this disturbance.

"I have a surprise for you, Sasuke-kun." He hissed. Sasuke suddenly felt a little less angry at his sleep deprivation. The last time Orochimaru had had a 'surprise' for him, it had been the katana which he still had; it was the most useful weapon he had ever come across and was surprised Orochimaru hadn't wanted to keep it for himself. He wondered if Orochimaru had thought of another forbidden jutsu he could teach. "What is it?" he asked, the venom slipping from his voice. Orochimaru said nothing further and walked down the corridor. Sasuke followed him.

He frowned as they reached the room Kabuto used for testing specimens. Sasuke swore to himself he would never set foot in here again; some of the things Kabuto did during his tests were disgusting. They would go into the surrounding villages and capture innocent civilians to use as test subjects. Sasuke was thankful the doors in the lair were heavy and thick; they disguised the screams. Orochimaru didn't seem bothered at all by the imminent gore, and walked right into the room. Sasuke decided to follow anyway, the strong smell of the disinfectant Kabuto used often on his operating tools hitting him.

"Look what we found outside." Orochimaru said, stepping aside, gesturing to the table in the middle of the room. Sasuke looked down. There was a figure lying on Kabuto's operating table. They looked unconscious and very…muddy. Sasuke felt sick. The poor person didn't stand a chance. They were either another victim for Orochimaru's perverted tendencies, or a doll for Kabuto to further his research and test on. "Why would I be bothered about another one of your fuck-toys?" Sasuke asked, a little angry. He had been woken up for this. Kabuto stepped forward, his glasses reflecting what little light there was as he did so.

He pushed the victim's head towards Sasuke so the raven could see the persons face. Oh. God. "Naruto." Sasuke immediately pushed all the emotion from his face. He couldn't allow himself to be careless. "What is he doing here?" Sasuke asked, trying to sound nonchalant. Orochimaru smirked. "We found him outside, as Orochimaru-sama said. It looks like he's been wandering around for days, judging by the fever he has." Kabuto supplied. Sasuke supposed that would explain the shaking. "He was unconscious when we found him," Kabuto added. Sasuke eyed the operating tools around them. What were they going to do with Naruto? Treat him like all the other test experiments and simply…dissect him or something? Sasuke shuddered. The organs in jars that were suspended in a strange fluid didn't come out of thin air and Kabuto had quite the collection. Sasuke looked back down at Naruto. The blonde looked terrible. He was shaking slightly, and his usually blonde hair looked more like a brown as it was streaked with mud.

Sasuke still tried to sound as though he didn't care at all. "So why did you bring me here? And what are you going to do with him?" he asked; the important question. Sasuke knew it couldn't be good when Orochimaru's smirk widened. "Naruto-kun will be the most valuable specimen Kabuto-kun has acquired so far. We shall be testing the extent of the healing properties the Kyuubi has." Orochimaru said. As much as he hated to admit it, Sasuke relaxed a little. That didn't sound too bad. It was better than Naruto ending up in pieces in jars. "So you're not going to kill him?" Sasuke asked, still sounding uncaring, though trying to confirm Naruto's fate. Kabuto looked shocked. "Of course not!" he said quickly. "The Kyuubi is unique. I couldn't simply destroy something so valuable. Think; if I could find a way to harness the Kyuubi's healing powers and accelerate them just a little…it may prevent death. Even so, any information I can gather will prove valuable." He said. Kabuto looked up at Orochimaru expectantly, wanting praise. He received none.

"That is, unless, you have any objections?" Orochimaru asked slowly. Sasuke couldn't believe it. He had let himself slip just a little for a split second, showing concern, and Orochimaru had caught it. He hardened his expression. "Of course not. Do what you like with him. I suppose it's just as well he proved so hard to kill when he was chasing me; now you can experiment on him all you like." He said.

"Sasu…ke?" Naruto croaked, blinking, his eyes adjusting to the bad lighting. The blonde had three pairs of eyes beaming down at him. Kabuto stepped forward and forced something down Naruto's throat. It would help with the fever; he couldn't allow his specimen to fall too ill. He needed to be in peak condition for the tests that were coming up. "Kabuto…don't disfigure him." Orochimaru said suddenly. This surprised both Sasuke and Kabuto. Orochimaru elaborated as he saw the confused faces.

"He is rather beautiful, isn't he? Besides. If he survives the tests…I might keep him." He said, thinking. Sasuke knew if he didn't leave now, things might get out of hand. "I'll leave you to it then," he said quickly. He turned away, breaking eye contact with Naruto. He left the room quickly, blocking out Naruto's shouts by closing the door behind him. He quickly went back to his room. Sasuke knew sleep wouldn't come as easy now, but he could at least try. He sat on his bed, thinking deeply. They weren't going to kill Naruto, but…whatever they were going to do couldn't be pleasant.

For many agonising weeks, Sasuke heard nothing of Naruto. He didn't dare go into Kabuto's room, dreading what he would find inside. "How is the research going?" Orochimaru asked. Kabuto was nearly trembling with excitement. He knew his information would please Orochimaru. "It seems the Kyuubi has a made a separate chakra system for healing, set aside from the one the fox uses for everything else. The demon fox has created what looks like stores of chakra inside Naruto's body that can be called upon for healing. But Naruto-kun cannot control these stores, only the Kyuubi can, which means even while unconscious Naruto-kun can be healed by the Kyuubi." He revealed, excited.

Orochimaru only seemed a little interested in this. "So what exactly can this chakra heal?" Orochimaru asked.

"It can heal minor cuts and burns within seven hours. Very deep cuts can be healed in around thirteen hours. As you know I sedate him when I am not with him, but I have needed to use stronger and stronger sedatives; it seems the Kyuubi is fighting it. The healing rate is quite impressive." Kabuto said. Orochimaru frowned.

"Well, it is better than the normal human rate of healing, but it could be better. Work on harnessing the power and accelerating it." Orochimaru commanded. "What about death?" he asked. Sasuke's head shot up.

"I don't know. If the power was accelerated to healing faster, perhaps the body could be healed so quickly that death could be avoided. I…couldn't say, because that would mean risking Naruto-kun's life. That's something I will have to do only when I am sure I have all the important research I need. It may take years, Orochimaru-sama." He said regretfully.

Kabuto looked crushed at Orochimaru's disappointed expression. "If there is one thing we don't have, its time. I don't care what you do to him, just get me that information." Orochimaru said. "If the body transfer goes badly, this may be the last thing keeping me alive," he added. Kabuto was silent for a moment.

"Naruto-kun has been asking for you." Kabuto said to Sasuke. Sasuke heart clenched painfully. "Of course he would." He replied quickly.

"He wants to see y-"

"I don't fucking care what he wants!" Sasuke shouted, standing up quickly. "I don't care about him!" He added angrily, before storming out of the room. He knew he had protested a little too loudly and a little too quickly, but he didn't care at the moment. Kabuto was trying to wind him up.

On his way back to the privacy of his room he found the very thing he was trying to get away from. Somehow, Naruto seemed to have escaped from Kabuto's room. He was staggering down the corridor, gripping the wall as he went. Sasuke quickly went up to him. If Kabuto found him like this, there would be an uproar. He grabbed Naruto and shoved him in his room which, thankfully, wasn't too far away. "I found you," Naruto said, relieved. He really had been lucky; it would have been just as probable to run into either Orochimaru or Kabuto. He relaxed against Sasuke.

"You weren't supposed to find me." Sasuke hissed angrily, but Naruto was already asleep. He sighed, thinking what he could do with Naruto. There was a large cut travelling from his collar bone down his chest. Naruto's voice was scratchy, probably from all the screaming he had done. Sasuke felt sick. This was what he had been afraid of. He placed Naruto on the bed. He couldn't take him back, not knowing what was being done to the blonde, could he? Naruto would have to go back eventually; Kabuto would notice him missing. Sasuke sat next to Naruto on the bed and waiting for Naruto to wake up.

"Sasuke." The voice pulled Sasuke from his thoughts and he looked down.

"What the hell am I supposed to do?" Sasuke mumbled to himself. There were thick marks on Naruto's wrists which showed he had been chained down. "S-Sasuke, come home with me." Naruto pleaded gently. Sasuke stood up quickly.

"I can't deal with that shit right now." He hissed. Once again, Naruto was forcing him to choose; Naruto, or his revenge he had worked so hard for. "Why the hell did you come here?" Sasuke shouted. Naruto swallowed.

"To find you. To bring you home." Naruto answered honestly.

"You were fucking stupid to get caught. What, did Kakashi and Sakura just abandon you here?" he asked. He was almost a little angry they hadn't tried to save Naruto; there had been no sign of intruders. "They didn't know I came. I had no idea where you were I just…searched and hoped I'd find you." Naruto mumbled. Sasuke couldn't believe how idiotic Naruto could be. "We can fight them together. We can kill Orochimaru and Kabuto." Naruto said. Sasuke just glared.

Naruto was in no fit state to be walking, let alone fighting. His point was proven as Naruto stood up. The blonde's legs gave out and Sasuke's body moved against his will and caught Naruto. "I'm taking you back one way or another." Naruto said confidently. That was just about it for Sasuke patience. "Just shut the fuck up!" he shouted angrily. He knew he had raised his voice so much he would probably alert Kabuto and Orochimaru, but, blinded by rage, he didn't care. "How the hell can you be so stupid? You couldn't even come close to touching Orochimaru in your normal state, and right now, you can't even stand up properly!" he yelled.

"Then perhaps it would be more appropriate to say… I'm not going home without you. I won't watch you walk away from me again. It nearly killed me the last time and I can't go through that again." Naruto said, his eyes blurred with tears. The door flung open and Kabuto's eyes searched out his prize. "It's me or Itachi, Sasuke. It's the final decision. Who means more?" Naruto questioned quietly.

Itachi. Itachi. He couldn't let his brother go unpunished. He was so close to achieving the power he needed. He couldn't let Naruto ruin this now. His goal was so close. After all, if he did go back to Konoha having destroyed his last chance at real power, what would he do? Nothing. It would be back to pointless, aimless, missions. He would still yearn the revenge. He needed peace. He deserved it. Naruto seemed to have managed to stand on his own and he stood tall, his eyes blazing with an intensity Sasuke had never seen before. Sasuke took his place beside Orochimaru. "I made that choice years ago." Sasuke said firmly.

The light left Naruto's eyes. Naruto watched as Kabuto pulled a syringe from his pocket. Naruto's eyes fell to the floor. "There's no need." He whispered brokenly. He followed Kabuto quietly out of the room. Orochimaru smirked. When the blonde fox was involved, Sasuke's loyalty was always questionable, but not now. He had almost handed Naruto over. Sasuke was in his clutches, finally. But then there was Naruto. The way he had been so submissive and quiet as he left. It seemed all he needed was rejection from Sasuke. He was perfect. "We shall resume training again tomorrow." Orochimaru said, before leaving Sasuke alone in his now seemingly colder room.

Kabuto's research progressed nicely. Orochimaru visited Naruto regularly and he had decided the time was nearing where he would make the blonde his. He paused in teaching Sasuke the latest forbidden jutsu, knowing he would have Sasuke's full attention. He turned to Kabuto, who always oversaw the training, ready with his medical supplies in case either Sasuke or Orochimaru were harmed during their training. "Kabuto. Put Naruto in my room for tonight." He said. Kabuto's eyes narrowed and Sasuke could see the jealously. It was sad to watch really.

Kabuto constantly fought for Orochimaru's affection and approval, but what he didn't seem to understand was that someone like Orochimaru just didn't care. He was ruthless and cold. "Is there a problem?" the snake hissed.

"No, but Naruto-kun shall remain heavily sedated until tomorrow. It is another test I am running." He lied smoothly, hoping it would deter Orochimaru from his plans with Naruto. Orochimaru walked back to Sasuke.

"I never said I needed him awake for what I have planned." Orochimaru said quietly. It echoed through Sasuke's head. Sasuke reminded himself it wasn't his fault Naruto had gotten himself caught. Naruto was the one who foolishly left the safety of Konoha and came looking. He had thrown himself into this danger.

Team seven would obviously realise he had gone missing and come looking for him. Later that night, Sasuke felt a presence in his room. The chakra didn't belong to Naruto. He reacted quickly, springing from his bed in full alertness, pinning the intruder against the wall by their throat. By the candlelight he saw it was Kabuto, which was a strange occurrence; Kabuto never came into Sasuke's room without Orochimaru. He had never had any need to come alone. "What are you doing, skulking around in here at night?" he spat. Yet again, his sleep had been interrupted. Kabuto reached forward and extracted Sasuke's hand from his throat so he could speak. "I left Naruto-kun in Orochimaru's room." He informed Sasuke.

"So?" Sasuke growled. He had heard Orochimaru's sick request already while they had been training. Did Kabuto just come here to rub it in his face? "Are you not going to do anything? You know what is going to happen to Naruto-kun, don't you?" Kabuto asked. "Yes, I know, and now you've enlightened me, get the fuck out." Sasuke snapped. "Naruto-kun is going to be raped and you're still going to stay here and do nothing?" Kabuto asked. Sasuke had known what Orochimaru would do to Naruto; the snake did it to all the young boys he brought home. Sasuke never commented though; it wasn't his business and he didn't really care. But none of those boys had been Naruto. He lashed out at Kabuto, grabbing him again. "Why are you saying this? Do you want me to help Naruto or something?" he asked angrily. Kabuto was silent for a moment which was strange; Kabuto always seemed to have a quick answer to everything. "Yes." The Medic Nin replied quietly.

It made no sense. Kabuto had willingly…tortured Naruto for his information, yet now he was acting like this? "You don't care about Naruto." Sasuke accused.

"No. I don't. But I don't want him being with Orochimaru-sama." He said. Sasuke frowned. So Kabuto was jealous. "Then why haven't you bothered about all the others before Naruto?" he asked suspiciously. Kabuto looked away from Sasuke. Anyone could see how good-looking Naruto was. But Kabuto could tell; Naruto looked like an Adonis. He was the perfect match for Orochimaru. If the snake had the capability to love, it wouldn't be hard to fall in love with Naruto. Kabuto had been trying for years to get Orochimaru's affection, and had still failed, yet Naruto had been here for mere months and Orochimaru already smiled every time Naruto's name was mentioned.

Kabuto knew it would only be a matter of time before he wanted Naruto for himself and now that time had come, he couldn't let it happen. "Naruto-kun is perfect. I don't want him to be the one to end up beside Orochimaru." He admitted. Sasuke sighed.

"So what exactly do you want me to do?" he asked. Orochimaru wouldn't just hand Naruto over if he asked. Sasuke had made his choice.

He had had the opportunity to save Naruto and he let it pass by. "I don't know." Kabuto said quietly. For once, he couldn't think of a plan. Sasuke was right; Orochimaru wouldn't just give Naruto over. "Naruto's chakra has been sealed. He can't fight back at all." Kabuto added. That made Sasuke feel worse. Just the thought of Naruto being completely helpless to what Orochimaru was going to do…it made him want to take action, like Kabuto wanted. Sasuke opened the door and hurried down the corridor. When Kabuto thanked him, he glared. "I'm not doing this for you." He snapped. He hoped Orochimaru wouldn't get angry when he demanded Naruto.

Naruto's eyes followed Orochimaru around the room. He knew what was going to happen; Kabuto had already cruelly informed him. He didn't move from the corner he had huddled in as soon as Kabuto had locked him in the room. Orochimaru turned to him and knelt beside him. The blonde flinched and pressed himself closer to the wall. "I'm not going to touch you." The snake said, his voice strangely soft. Naruto didn't relax. There was a moment of silence, before Orochimaru began to talk again. "I can give you what you want." He said suddenly. Naruto felt sick.

"I think we might have different ideas on what I want." He snapped. For some reason Naruto felt a little bit of his confidence seep back. Even though he had told Naruto he wouldn't touch him, the temptation became too much. He reached out slowly and ran his finger along Naruto's jawbone. "That rejection from Sasuke must have hurt. But you can still have Sasuke. You can still have his love." Orochimaru said. Naruto's eyes widened. How the hell could he have known? "Sasuke will never love you, but I can. When I obtain his body, you can be by my side." Orochimaru offered.

"That's sick." Naruto forced out.

"Is it? I know how much you want Sasuke. How much you long for him. It's the closest you're ever going to get to the real thing, Naruto-kun." Orochimaru punctuated his sentence by pressing his palm lightly against Naruto's cheek. "Think, how many times have you dreamt of Sasuke making love to you? You can have that." Orochimaru said. Naruto pressed himself closer to the wall, his eyes brimming with tears. "Shut up," he whimpered, hating how tempted he was. Orochimaru was right; he would never have the real Sasuke. Sasuke valued Itachi, a mass murderer, over him. "You can finally hear Sasuke say the words you've longed to hear." Orochimaru added. He knew he was close to getting Naruto to agree with him.

This plan was utterly perfect. When Naruto had demanded Sasuke to choose between him, or his revenge, Orochimaru had seen the hesitation. Sasuke needed to be punished for that, and what better way for him to watch his best friend become his lover? Also, Orochimaru had never been captivated before the way he was with Naruto. The blonde fox was perfect. When he took Sasuke's body, Naruto would protect him with his life, blinded by love. Orochimaru knew the Kyuubi helped Naruto out; the demon fox couldn't let his vessel die. So that meant he would have the demon fox Kyuubi behind him. Yes, this had to be one of his better plans.

I love you. Naruto couldn't even remember how long he had been longing to hear that from Sasuke, but as the years passed, he knew it was never going to happen. He promised he wouldn't return to Konoha without Sasuke. This way, he could have Sasuke, they way he had always wanted. He stood up and stepped forward nervously. "I-I want that." Naruto mumbled nervously.

Orochimaru smirked. Naruto had proved so easy to manipulate. He took Naruto by the hand. "Good. Now come to bed." He said smoothly. Naruto wrenched his hand from the snake's grip and fled to the other side of the room. "I mean to sleep. Nothing more." He promised. Naruto thought it over. If that was what Orochimaru wanted…he couldn't refuse. He had to keep Orochimaru happy for now, then when he had Sasuke's body, wanting to be close to him would come naturally.

As Naruto stepped forward Orochimaru decided to push his luck as much as he could. He gently pulled off Naruto's black shirt. He heard Naruto's breathing speed up and could tell the blonde was starting to panic. "Calm down." Orochimaru said quietly. He let the soft material slip through his fingers and fall to the floor. Naruto climbed in the bed after Orochimaru. Orochimaru wrapped his arms around Naruto and pulled him close. Before the blonde could struggle, he spoke. "Just think, in mere months it will be Sasuke who will be holding you." He said. Naruto relaxed a little.

"Yeah." He mumbled quietly. The silence was soon broken. Naruto and Orochimaru looked up as the door crashed open. Sasuke threw himself into the room, followed by Kabuto.

Sasuke was surprised to see Naruto relaxing against Orochimaru, seemingly peacefully. "What did you do to him?" Sasuke demanded. Had he been too late?

"Sasuke-kun. Kabuto-kun. Can you please explain this interruption?" he asked.

"I can't let you…I can't let you hurt Naruto." Sasuke said. This piqued the blonde's interest. Sasuke had come to help him. But…even if Sasuke was concerned, he had already made a choice. He had already shown how little his friendship meant and even if they could respark the friendship, that's all it could ever be. With Orochimaru, he could have Sasuke as a lover. Orochimaru ran his fingers through Naruto's blonde hair. He had to show Orochimaru he was worthy. In Sasuke's body, Orochimaru would have youth, power, the sharingan.

He would have everything. If Orochimaru realised this, he wouldn't think twice about entertaining Naruto's love for Sasuke. He would simply find a better looking and stronger lover. Someone who would be devoted to him completely. "Leave," Naruto told Sasuke softly. Sasuke looked down at Naruto, shocked. When Orochimaru kissed the top of the blonde's head gently, Kabuto left the room. "Get. Out." Orochimaru said, a little angrily. Naruto didn't seem to be in danger or at all distressed, so Sasuke slunk out of the room. Kabuto was outside, seething. "I knew it. I knew this would happen. We were too late…" he said sadly.

Sasuke sighed. "I don't know why Orochimaru was acting so…affectionate, but at least he wasn't hurting Naruto." He said quietly. His main concern had been Naruto, but he seemed fine. He wouldn't get involved in the sick game Orochimaru was playing. As long as Naruto's presence didn't interfere with his training, he didn't care.

It turned out that Naruto would end up playing a part in the training. Orochimaru had forbidden Kabuto from experimenting on Naruto any more. Sasuke was glad; he knew that Kabuto was so blinded by jealousy he would end up 'slipping' during an experiment and killing the blonde, even if he was a vital resource material. Orochimaru kept Naruto close to him at all times and now had decided to allow Naruto to oversee their training sessions in Kabuto's place, much to Kabuto's chagrin. The blonde watched from the side.

Sasuke unsheathed his katana. "So. I want you to try and attack me." Orochimaru said. "You've been working on your speed, so now is the time to put it in to practice. Stab me." Orochimaru said. Attacking wouldn't be a problem for Sasuke. He was so angry at Orochimaru. Naruto felt a little nervous and he watched Sasuke launch his attack. Orochimaru didn't move an inch. He didn't make any move to defend himself. For Orochimaru, this was the final test.

He wanted the Kyuubi on his side. Orochimaru was going to be hurt and Naruto couldn't let that happen. Orochimaru was his last chance to have Sasuke. Even if it killed him, he needed to protect this chance. Summoning the Kyuubi's chakra, he moved with lightning speed, just a little faster than Sasuke and closed the gap between them. Sasuke's sword pierced Naruto through his back.

Orochimaru remained unharmed. Sasuke pulled his sword back, horrified at what he had done. For years he hadn't been able to do this to Naruto no matter how hard he tried. Now it had happened, all he wanted to do was take it back. The blonde gripped Orochimaru. "Are you h-hurt?" he asked worriedly. Sasuke couldn't believe it. Naruto was concerned about Orochimaru when he was the one bleeding to death? Orochimaru summoned Kabuto immediately. Naruto had passed the test wonderfully. "Heal him." Orochimaru commanded. "And be quick about it; the wound is deep." He added. Naruto was relieved to find that Orochimaru had remained completely unharmed.

Kabuto was almost pleased to see Naruto in pain. He carried the blonde back to his room and lay him on his table as he began to rummage around for supplies to heal the wound. Sasuke watched Naruto's face contort with pain as Kabuto applied something to the wound to clean it. Orochimaru looked down at the wound. It looked so painful, and Naruto had taken the attack without a second thought. Naruto let out a small cry of pain as Kabuto began to work on the healing. Orochimaru stroked his hair comfortingly. "It's alright, angel." He said quietly. Sasuke watched, sickened, as Naruto looked up at Orochimaru happily. Angel? Would he still call him that when he had Sasuke's body? Naruto couldn't help but smile. Kabuto, however, had heard the nickname and pressed the wound a little harder than was needed, hoping he cause Naruto more pain than before. When the healing process had finished, Kabuto stepped away. "It should be fine by tomorrow morning." He said, wishing the wound had been bigger. "I want you to hold me," Naruto said gently.

Sasuke didn't know why, but he stepped forward, his body wanting to obey the blonde's command. Before he could take a second step, he stopped himself, watching angrily as Orochimaru scooped up Naruto in his arms. "Training shall not take place tomorrow. I need to look after my fox." Orochimaru said, before leaving. Both Sasuke and Kabuto were left shaking in anger.

"We need to get him away from Naruto."

"We need to get him away from Orochimaru." They said simultaneously. They both looked at each other. Something had to be done.

Sasuke finally took an opening and ambushed Naruto. He pressed the blonde against the wall. "What the hell is going on?" he hissed, trying to keep his voice low as to not alert Orochimaru. "What?"

"Don't play dumb!" Sasuke spat, forgetting the 'keeping his voice low' plan. "What the fuck are you doing with Orochimaru? Why aren't you fighting him? And why did you take that attack for him? What reason could you possibly have for wanting to save him?" he asked. Kabuto watched them intently. He wanted answers too.

"Orochimaru is my last chance." Naruto admitted quietly.

"Last chance for what?" Sasuke asked.

"My last chance for love,"

Sasuke moved away. Of all the things he had been expecting, that hadn't been one of them. "You're saying you love Orochimaru? The murderer? The person who nearly destroyed Konoha? Who nearly killed the fifth?" he hissed. Naruto's eyes narrowed.

"Why not? You're the one following him too. Don't touch me. No one is allowed to touch me expect Orochimaru." Naruto said quickly. Sasuke released him.

"What the hell has he done to you?" he asked hollowly. Naruto stepped away from Sasuke to Orochimaru, who was standing behind them. Sasuke decided not to think about how long Orochimaru could have been stood there.

"What is going on?" he asked, his eyes fixed on Naruto. The blonde could sense the suspicious. He leaned up and kissed Orochimaru. "Nothing. Take me back to our room." Naruto said. Orochimaru smirked. He couldn't deny Naruto that. Naruto was sure all the suspicion had faded and left Sasuke and Kabuto standing alone in the cold corridor. "He kissed him!" Kabuto snarled. "We have to get them apart. Look, you want to keep the little slut away from Orochimaru too, don't you?" Kabuto asked. Sasuke glared angrily at the comment about Naruto. He didn't even want to think about what they did in that room when they were alone. Orochimaru had brainwashed Naruto somehow.

"Yeah. We can't…let this carry on." Sasuke agreed quietly. Kabuto nodded and pulled something from his pocket. "I can carefully sedate Orochimaru without being seen." Sasuke saw nothing in his hand. "There is a syringe; it just has a concealing jutsu on it. Orochimaru will never know I've injected its contents." Kabuto said.

"Won't he feel the needle?" Sasuke asked.

"The tip is laced with a chemical to numb the skin instantly on contact." Kabuto admitted proudly. Sasuke nodded. "Then what?" he asked.

"You take Naruto. You get him the hell out of here. Take him back to Konoha. I don't know why the rest of his squad haven't come looking for him, but when you take him back, they will be sure to keep him there, right?" Kabuto asked. Sasuke was also concerned. Why hadn't they come after Naruto? "I'm not going back to Konoha." Sasuke said shortly. Kabuto sighed. "It's the only plan we have, Sasuke-kun." He said wearily.

He wanted to get Orochimaru away from that vixen as soon as possible; Sasuke's reluctance was only holding this up. "You're right. I'm just going to have to hope they don't sense my chakra when I take him back. Sakura is awfully persistent." He said. After going through their plan a few more times, making sure Sasuke caused a distraction (without raising too much suspicion) so he could anaesthetize Orochimaru. When they had calculated each little detail, they approached the door.

Kabuto pressed his ear against the door. "It's quiet." He whispered. He performed a jutsu that would unlock Naruto's chakra. "With any luck, they are both sleeping." He pointed to his palm, which Sasuke knew contained the needle, the key to their plan. "That will make our move much easier." He added. Kabuto opened the door in one smooth motion. They both gasped with utter shock as the scene before them was taken in.

Orochimaru was slumped on the bed, a scalpel embedded in his neck, blood pooling on the floor. It looked like a scene from a horror movie. Naruto was kneeling beside him, his hands covered in blood. He was crying, his tears falling and mingling with the blood. Both Sasuke and Kabuto rushed in, but their concerns were for different people. When Kabuto realised Orochimaru was dead, he looked up at Naruto. Sasuke had never seen Kabuto so angry. "What the hell have you done?" he yelled in anguish. Tears were still spilling from Naruto's eyes. He couldn't speak. He couldn't breathe. Sasuke pressed his hand under Naruto's chin, forcing the blonde to look at him. "Naruto, you need to calm down." He said gently. Kabuto seemed to be battling tears of his own.

"Get him out of here. Just get him the fuck away from me before I kill him," Kabuto warned. Naruto had killed Orochimaru. The one person he had followed his whole life had been killed. He never expected to outlive Orochimaru; not with all the planning the snake had done for the body transferrals. There was murder in his eyes. Sasuke grabbed Naruto and pulled him out of the room quickly. He hurried down the corridor with the blonde and sat him on his bed.

"Naruto. What happened?" he asked.

"He…h-he was touching me. And he wouldn't stop. He was going to-" Naruto stopped abruptly, tears still running tracks down his face. Sasuke frowned. "What happened to 'no one is allowed to touch me except Orochimaru'?" he asked, quoting Naruto's earlier comment. Naruto looked away. "That was only supposed to be when he was you." He said miserably. Sasuke's frown deepened.

"You're not making any sense." Sasuke pointed out.

"Orochimaru said when he took over your body he would love me as you. He could be you." Naruto admitted miserably. Sasuke blinked, trying to take in what Naruto was saying. "You mean you wanted me dead?" Sasuke asked, a little coldly. Naruto's head snapped up. "W-What? Of course not!" he said quickly.

"Then why would you want Orochimaru in my body and not me?" he asked angrily. Naruto's gaze slipped to the floor. "I never thought of it that way. I just thought that Orochimaru was going to take your body anyway. You would never love me. It was my only chance." He said miserably.

"You…you love me?" Sasuke asked incredulously. He had never seen that coming. Naruto swallowed. "I knew you would hate me for it." Naruto mumbled.

"No! I don't hate you its just…I never expected this." He said quickly. "I'd suggest getting cleaned up but we should really get out of here before Kabuto realises we haven't left." Sasuke said. Naruto was still covered in Orochimaru's blood. Sasuke still couldn't believe it had been that simple to kill Orochimaru. Sasuke supposed it was mainly the surprise of the attack that left the Sannin vulnerable. The blonde must have stolen one of Kabuto's scalpels in case of emergency and hidden it. "And go where?" Naruto asked quietly. Sasuke could sense the hope in his voice. He could take Naruto back.

The blonde would go back willingly if he lied and said he would give up on his revenge and stay in Konoha. All he had to do was get the blonde back. As soon as Sakura or Kakashi spotted him, they would be glad to see him. After all, Naruto must have been missing for months. Then he would leave. Sakura wouldn't let Naruto chase him again. Or he could sedate Naruto when they got there. That would be an even better plan. He would leave Naruto in Konoha to be found, then he would hunt Itachi down. He hadn't had all the training he had needed from Orochimaru, but his current state would have to do. He knew he had a syringe left from Kabuto.

"We're going back to Konoha." Sasuke said. Despite the trauma he had just been through Naruto couldn't help but smile. "R-really? You're coming home?" he asked happily. Sasuke nodded. Naruto hugged him, but Sasuke pushed him away quickly, pretending to be angry at now being covered in Orochimaru's blood too. He felt guilty, but Naruto would be safe in Konoha and he would be free to carry on searching for Itachi. Sasuke knew Naruto was exhausted, but the blonde didn't complain about the long journey home.

When they were nearing Konoha Sasuke decided soon he would have to put his pl an into action. Konoha's gates were in sight and he stopped. "Sasuke? What's wrong?" Naruto asked, wondering why Sasuke had stopped; the gates were right ahead. Sasuke quickly pinned Naruto down before the blonde could get suspicious. For a wild moment, Naruto thought Sasuke was going to kiss him.

That vision was shattered, however, when he felt a small pain in his neck. He had felt that all too many times before. Naruto looked up at Sasuke as the pull of sleep began. "S-Sasuke…why?" he asked simply. Sasuke sighed. He thought it would have put Naruto to sleep immediately. "I can't come back to Konoha. I can't. I've come too far to go back now. I'm sure Kakashi will sense your chakra and find you." He said. Sasuke didn't remember what Kabuto had told Orochimaru about the Kyuubi's growing ability to fight the sedatives he had been using. After a few more moments of dizziness, the feeling of sleep faded and Naruto grabbed Sasuke before he could get away. "You bastard!" Naruto yelled angrily.

"You were going to leave me! Again!" his voice broke and he clutched on to Sasuke desperately. "I made my choice, Naruto!" Sasuke shouted, throwing Naruto off. "Yes, you do mean something to me, that's why I brought you back here, but I still need to kill Itachi." Sasuke said, trying to shove Naruto away as the blonde latched onto him again. "Don't leave me. Please," Naruto begged quickly, tears trickling down his face. The lure of unconsciousness came again and Naruto realised Sasuke must have managed to get hold of one of the stronger sedatives Kabuto had in his store. Sasuke tried to push him off again, but Naruto held on with a new determination. "If you leave now I won't be here when you get back." Naruto said seriously. Sasuke stopped.

"What? What does that mean?" Sasuke asked. This was not the way he had envisioned this plan unfolding. "I mean, I love you too much to lose you again." Naruto said quietly.

Sasuke took a deep breath as he understood exactly what Naruto was threatening him with. There couldn't any other meaning, could there? "You wouldn't." Sasuke breathed, his voice shaking against his will. Naruto looked up at him through saddened eyes. "Wouldn't I?" he mumbled. Sasuke shut his eyes.

"Don't do this." Sasuke pleaded softly. How could he leave now? How was he supposed to fucking leave when Naruto was not-so-subtly threatening suicide? If he came back and Naruto…wasn't there, he would be entirely to blame. The question was; what would be more painful? Naruto's death, or letting Itachi roam free without retribution for his crimes.

Naruto's eyelids were fluttering shut and the blonde knew he was fighting a losing battle against the sleep. Things began to swim out of view and Naruto knew that if Sasuke didn't choose him, this would be the last time he would ever see the raven. He stumbled forward and pressed his lips against Sasuke's. It was a short but tender kiss, and Sasuke caught the blonde as he fell against him. He sighed. Naruto was asleep in his arms, unaware of the turmoil that was going on in Sasuke's mind. He could still execute his plan successfully; all he had to do was put Naruto down and walk away. He held Naruto longer, not realising how hard it was to let go.

He traced the tear tracks that ran down Naruto's face, staring closely at the whisker marks that were unique to Naruto. He placed Naruto down gently. He pulled something from his pocket and placed it gently inside one of Naruto's pockets. He heard shouts that sounded familiarly like Sakura. After a moment of deliberation he pressed a kiss against Naruto's lips, and he was gone. "It really is Naruto!" Sakura said, tears of relief filling her eyes. Sai was beside her in a flash, inspecting Naruto. Sakura gasped as she saw the blood covering Naruto. "He seems fine. That's not Naruto's blood." He said thankfully. Sai and Sakura took him back into the village.

"Thank god!" Tsunade said loudly. "I'm never trusting that brat again! 'Visiting Gaara' my ass!" she shouted angrily. Two months ago, in reaction to Kakashi's proposal that they give up on finding Sasuke, Naruto said he was going to visit Gaara in Suna. After three weeks without Naruto, team Kakashi had decided it ample time to bring Naruto home. They were more than furious to find that Gaara hadn't even seen Naruto in a long time, let alone had him to visit. At once, it had become obvious. Naruto had gone after Sasuke alone without any idea of where to look.

There was no use in searching for Naruto; he could be anywhere. They just hoped he realised he was never going to find Sasuke and come back home. Sakura watched over him as he slept. She had seen the clumsy needle mark; Naruto had been hurriedly sedated. She couldn't think of anyone who would have any reason to sedate him and bring him back to Konoha except…Sasuke. Could it be possible that Naruto found him? Perhaps there had been another fight like last time. Naruto was covered in blood and Sakura knew whoever had been attacked was probably a little worse for wear.

She knew she would get her answers soon and cleared her throat to draw the Hokage's attention as she saw Naruto's eyes flutter open. As soon as Naruto's mind caught up with the fact that he was now awake, the blonde shot up. "Sasuke!" he shouted, his eyes scanning the room hopefully. Sakura's suspicions were confirmed. Naruto soon realised Sasuke wasn't in the room. Surely he couldn't have left? Naruto swallowed. "He's not here, is he?" Naruto asked sorrowfully. His eyes welled up as he realised Sasuke had really left. "What happened?" Tsunade asked. He remained silent. He was glad he had taken his (last) chance to kiss Sasuke when he did.

He had been serious in his threat. He just didn't see the point in carrying on living without Sasuke. If he was really that unimportant to Sasuke, he didn't want to bother living. He reached into his pocket to draw a kunai, contemplating carrying out his threat, but his hand caught something else instead. A photo of himself that he never even knew had been taken. He was sleeping under a sakura tree. Sasuke must have taken it a few years ago. It eased his pain a little to know that Sasuke must have kept this photo for a long time, but it didn't change the inevitable. That was until Naruto realised there was something on the back. It was, although scribbled in an obvious rush, Sasuke's handwriting.

'I love you too. Wait for me.'

A fresh wave of tears hit Naruto. He no longer needed the kunai. He would wait. No matter how long it took, he would wait.

Sasuke kept his promise and returned just four weeks later, dragging behind him a ripped, bloodied, Akatsuki cloak. He was relieved to find that his messaged had worked, and Naruto hadn't harmed himself. Sasuke approached Naruto warily, knowing the blonde would be hurt by the fact that he had left to pursue Itachi. "I'm still angry at you, teme." Naruto said, forcing his words out between Sasuke's kisses. Sasuke dropped the cloak. "I know." He said gently. "But I've got the rest of our lives to make it up to you, haven't I?" he asked, leaning in to kiss Naruto again.

Naruto sighed contentedly. "Thank you. For coming back." Naruto said quietly. Sasuke smirked. "I said I would didn't I?" Sasuke replied, remembering what he had written on the back of the photograph. "Yeah. But you still didn't have to." Naruto trailed off, remembering what else Sasuke had written on the back of the photograph. "Did you mean the other thing that you wrote?" he asked nervously. Sasuke had kissed him, but that didn't mean he had any deeper feelings. Sasuke smiled. "Yes," he replied simply.

Naruto smiled back, looking even more forward to the rest of their lives, in which Sasuke would definitely have to keep him promise by spending making it up it to him. Naruto handed something to Sasuke. It was his headband, which he had left behind years ago. There was still the scratch which Naruto had caused. "This is yours," Naruto said gently. Sasuke took it from Naruto and put it on, once again a Konoha ninja.

A/n: the end! Hope you enjoyed. Reviews would be appreciated. A sequel is possible, if there is a high enough demand for one.

Whippasnappa. x