My teeth, they itch
Feeling blocky in my mouth
Shaky cement framework
Quaking in my mouth
Itching to dig in, not to flesh and bone
I need no flesh and bone
Take away the blood
With its copper aftertaste
Take away your meats
That rot upon my tongue
Take away sweet ambrosia
That turns to ash in my throat
Take away your nectar
Like a rattler's poison
Let my teeth reach something they need
Before they fall from bloody gaps
My teeth itch, my teeth itch
To sink into something real
When Naruto saw his boyfriend that morning, standing across from him and across campus, beneath the tree and hidden in shadow nearly as dark as the sky, his first thought was, 'Oh God, is he sick?'
One delayed moment later he realized that wasn't the problem. He stood, ramrod straight, a foot from the bark of the tree. Sasuke, being the lazy bastard Naruto knew him to be, would always slouch against any flat and available surface around him rather than stand like a soldier at the front line. His hands weren't even tucked away into his pockets; they were balled into tiny specks the blond could only presume were fists.
'What the Hell's wrong with him?' he thought. It wasn't his awkward-looking stance that made him look sick, but Naruto couldn't pinpoint the reason for it anyway. He looked the same. He could still spy that unique hair; bangs framing his face, pointed spikes sprouting up from the back of his head. Naruto, who'd never pinned the man for being vain, once asked him about it. Sasuke had replied that it had always stuck up a bit since he we a child, like a hundred different cowlicks, and when gel wouldn't flatten it, he just gelled it the rest of the way up.
Not his hair, then; that looked the same. His eyes, perhaps? But Naruto was too far away to see those. Even at this distance, though, he felt as if his head were splitting at the seams from the force of an intent gaze.
'Is he sick?' The words ran through his head in a suspicious mantra, and even though he knew them to be false, he couldn't help but believe that there was something wrong.
Something was very, very wrong.
Was he mad? Did he let the mouth of the toothpaste bottle get too crusty again? Had he let too much dirty laundry pile up on their bedroom floor? Had he forgotten to fill the dishwasher with the dirty ware in the sink?
None of that could warrant the hard stare he was currently the object of, Naruto knew.
Naruto, who was waiting for Kiba to get the books he'd forgotten from their shared class, considered abandoning his friend to go run up to him. He was about to follow through with the impulse when the brunet returned with a huff, head ducked and hands clasping his knees.
"Gott'em!" he snarled triumphantly. Naruto wasn't sure how he did it, but the other man always seemed to growl out his words rather than speak then, the animalistic side of his personality more prominent than any other part. "C'mon, let's go meet Hinata."
"Don't act like it's my fault," Naruto retorted, reluctantly pulling his eyes away from his lover to stare into brazen ones. "You're the one who's gonna make us late, dumbass."
"Then let's go already!"
"In just a second. I'm gonna go run over there and see what's wrong with the wife." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder, but Kiba just gave him a confused look.
Rolling his eyes, Naruto turned to point Sasuke out, only to find the raven gone. The tree stood alone in the field of grass, gentle wisps of green, sinewy weed drenching its twisted roots. Just shadow below there.
"Where'd that bastard run off to," Naruto muttered, crossing his arms over his chest and cocking his head to the side. "He was there--"
"A second ago, yeah, yeah, I get it. I've seen enough horror movies already, thanks." Naruto snapped his head around and glared at the scowling man. "Enough fucking around, let's go!" He stepped forward to grab a hold of Naruto's shoulder, but the blond resiliently pulled back.
"I told you, mutt, it's your fault we're late! And he was standing right over there!" Naruto assed as an afterthought.
"Who, Sasuke?" Kiba snorted. "Guy's a creep. Pops up all over the place; makes sense he can pop away. Now let's go."
This time, when Kiba pulled him forward, Naruto didn't resist. He'd talk to him about it tonight, he resolved. And perhaps drown him in cough syrup.
He'd had the entire conversation planned out in his head. This wasn't the first time that Sasuke had hidden an illness due to his stubborn, pig-headed nature, Naruto thought. It was simple, easy, and well-rehearsed (the mirror took it rather well, a good sign). A simple, "Hey, Sasuke. How was your day?" Sasuke would be suspicious, as Naruto never inquired about his day directly upon arrival. A noncommittal grunt would meet his statement, and Naruto would nod, as if Sasuke had given a full-fledged explanation to a difficult algebraic expression. Naruto would then, quite politely, ask, "Do you want some tea? I just started some." Sasuke would be surprised by his thoughtfulness, of course, and would graciously take him up on the offer. And when they were both seated, Naruto would casually stand, to get some sugar for his tea being his excuse. He'd then casually brush against Sasuke's shoulder, and the raven was shudder uncontrollably, because really, who could resist Naruto? And, all cool and casual like, Naruto would say, "You feeling all right, Sasuke?" His boyfriend would look down, cheeks tinged, from embarrassment and obvious fever, and mumble, "I'm fine…" After some goading, Sasuke would eventually stutter out, "I'm just… feeling a little…." "Sick?" Naruto would finish understandingly. And when his blushing lover would nod, Naruto would sigh superiorly and brush dark bangs from a pale forehead and kiss the sweaty forehead. He'd offer to carry the boy to bed, and his offer would be taken up with a shy smile and sparkling smile.
His mirror approved of the plan whole-heartedly.
When Sasuke came in, sweating profusely from his brisk walk and the blistering, muggy heat from the outdoors, Naruto smiled cheekily and asked him how his day had gone.
Sasuke gave him a glare with enough heat to match the outdoors and snapped, "How do you think?" He let his shoulder bag slide off his shoulder and flump against the floor before bustling into the room. He slid his shoes off and wondered through the living room. Naruto stared after him, frowning. Well that hadn't gone the way he'd imagined it would…
Immediately skipping small talk, Naruto shadowed Sasuke into the kitchen, where the boy was getting himself a glass of water from the faucet.
"Wait!" Naruto cried. "I was just making tea and…." Sasuke slowly turned his head to look at him, and the blond blurted, "do-you-want-any?"
The incredulous look on Sasuke's face made him doubt his long-standing status as a human being. "Naruto," the raven began slowly, as if afraid to scare him off, "it's a hundred-ten degrees in the shade. Why in God's name would you make tea?"
"But you love tea…"
"Dobe. I'm swimming in my own sweat. I think I'll stick to water." And just as he pointedly rose the glass to take a sip, Naruto lunged forwards and grabbed his wrists, causing some of the water to slosh out and spill over their hands.
"Just wait! I have my reasons!" Reasons that weren't looking too good right now, but reasons nonetheless. "Tea's refreshing, ya know?"
"Yeah, when it's cold."
"But you don't drink cold tea!"
"You're right. It's disgusting."
"See? So I made you some hot!"
"Your hot tea is even worse. You let the tea bags soak too long and the tea leaves get in the water. It's like drinking mud."
This was very true, Naruto knew. Which was why he used so much sugar. Better to drink sweet mud than bitter mud. It was a great testament to their love that Sasuke choked down the stuff each and every time.
"Just… just…. Gah, fine! You don't have to drink the damned tea. You can drink your plain old water while I drink the whole kettle myself 'cause my boyfriends too much of a stubborn ass to even drink so much as a sip--"
"All right, fine!" Sasuke yanked his trapped wrist away from the shorter man's grasp and, with one longing look at the water, dumped it in the sink and let the plastic cup drop to the bottom of the sink. "There. Happy?" It was obvious the raven was too tired to put up much of a fight, and the blond was perfectly prepared to take full advantage of that.
Two minutes later, they sat across from each other at their diminutive dining room table, Sasuke making a poorly disguise look of absolute disgust as he managed a small sip of it, white Naruto happily blew across his and kicked his feet under the table.
Naruto rose the mug exaggeratingly slow to his lips, trying and failing to meet Sasuke's eyes, before abruptly setting it back down, the mug making a hollow thud where it ht the oak.
"I forgot the sugar," he said matter-of-factly. Sasuke looked up from his own mug of muck and cocked an eyebrow, waiting.
"You can't possibly expect me to get it for you, do you?"
Of course not.
Naruto heaved a dramatic sigh, standing up and pushing his chair in before circling around the table. He wouldn't need the chair. In a few moments time, he would be kneeling before the raven, soothing his hair back and attempting to soothe his obviously very distressed and sick nature.
When he had reached the other side, he casually leaned slightly to the left to brush against his lover's shoulder. Or at least tried to. He'd over-compensated his space, and leaned over too far, stumbling over his own two feet and ended up slamming straight into it.
Sasuke 'oof'ed. He'd never heard him make that noise before; it was a bit funny, really. But his following scream was not as amusing. It was more of a bone-chilling, I'm-going-to-die-now kind of scream that made Naruto gracelessly scramble to his feet and then backwards, but immediately forwards to survey the damage. Hot tea (sludge) all over the man's lap.
"Sasuke…." He murmured. "I'm so, so sorry. Hold on, lemme go get a paper-- Hnnh!"
Hnnh! because Sasuke had just looped a hand around to the scruffy hair at the nape of his head and yanked forward, causing him to fall to his knees before him. Well, he thought, he was on his knees. And in front of him. That was one part of the plan gone successful.
Wait, what was the plan again? He was finding it difficult to recall with those vivid gray eyes spelling out death for him in big, capital, neon-green letters.
"Naruto," and although Naruto had never made the acquaintance of a grim reaper, he was positive that this was the voice that would come rattling out from beneath the tattered robe, "what--"
"Are you sick?" he blurted out before Sasuke could get one more word in edgewise. Forget the plan. The new plan would be to live till morning. In a bed, hopefully, but that aspect of the plan was a bit shaky.
"I'm not the one sick in the head around here," Sasuke hissed. His pale skin seemed hauntingly thin, like it was too small to cage the growing anger that obviously swelled up like a typhoon. His eyes almost glowed red and an immediate revision of tactics seemed to be the recommended way to go.
But the blond's hair seemed to be the only thing bright in their little Crayole box of life. Naruto rolled his eyes, and then head butted his boyfriend lightly, causing the other to blink owlishly at him, obviously expecting a much more frightened reaction than the idiocy he was faced with. That was his Sasuke's weakness--stupidity. He couldn't deal with it. Naruto felt sure that his behavior was nothing but good for melting that ice pick that seemed permanently stuck up his--
"No fever," Naruto muttered. He couldn't detect even the faintest hint of temperature between their conjoined foreheads.
"Moron," Sasuke breathed. "I'm not sick." Either his thigh had been burned to such an extent that it had now gone numb, or he was too distracted by Naruto's doting to really mind it at the moment. The blond prayed for the latter.
"Well, something must be the matter."
"Yes. I can't feel my leg."
Oh. So it had gone numb.
"Is that what this stuff was about?" How rude. His tea wasn't stuff; it just required a very refined audience to truly enjoy it. "You fed me a choking hazard because you thought I was sick?"
No. It wasn't a choking hazard. But besides that… "Erm, yeah?"
Sasuke frowned lightly. Not an unpleased manner, not even in a mad manner. Just a gentle pull at the ends of his lips, and his eyes were drawn down and to the corner to stare a hole into the floor. You could tell he was repressing the urge to roll his eyes, or to scoff, or even to run an annoyed hand through his bangs.
Naruto recognized the look. He'd been given it a handful of times, enough to understand it for what it was. The man wasn't embarrassed or upset, he was… flattered, the blond surmised. There was no other way to describe it.
He'd seen it first a couple years ago, when Naruto had shown up on his doorstep, drench down to the bone with heavy melting snow, teeth chattering and a bag from CVS clutched in one frozen hand.
"F-fucking bastard," he'd managed to grit out through chattering teeth. "D-don't know h-ho-h-how t-t-to take c-care of yours-self!"
That had been winters ago. Their usual haunt was Naruto's rented home atop the adult book store his godfather owned, or the park just outside their school. Naruto had only briefly glimpsed inside Sasuke's apartment when he went to meet the boy for movies or for one of their other friend's parties. Never to go in.
And the raven had abruptly slammed the door shut in his face.
Naruto had blinked, sullenly, and looked down at the bag in his hand full of a bottle of Flintstones chewable vitamins, a bottle of Vick's vapor rub, a box of Kleenex, hand sanitizer, Robatussin, Campbell's chicken noodle soup, and Aleve.
And the bastard had locked him out.
"Oi!" he shouted, slamming his fist against the door. "Let me in! I just got you all this shit from the drug store!"
"Leave it outside the door," Sasuke had croaked from the other side of the threshold. "I'm sick, you moron. You're gonna get sick too. I'm not letting you in."
"Dude, I've been out in a fucking storm for half an hour to bring your emo ass some fucking medicine! If I'm not sick by now--"
"No! Let me in!"
"C'mon, I'm cold, bastard!"
"Then go home."
"Not before you let me in!"
The door slid open a crack and a bloodshot, watery black eye glared at him. Not glared, really. But with that aforementioned look, appraising the situation as someone would test the water to see how cold it was.
"What do you want, usuratonkachi?" he grunted.
"To take care of you, idiot." He'd held the bag up with one hand and pushed the door back a bit to shove himself inside. He ignored the black stare boring into the bridge of his nose. "Now where's your kitchen? I brought you some soup…"
He'd been met with the full look, which lasted only a brief moment before he turned around, trudging to what presumably was the kitchen, a half-hearted, "Retard," thrown over his shoulder. The battle lost, for the moment.
Naruto played witness to that half-flatter, fully-uncomfortable look several more times that afternoon, and Naruto just pushed more tissues at him, usually with, "Don't sneeze on me, you sicko."
Not that is mattered. Naruto was sick the very next morning.
Now Sasuke just sighed a few moments later, giving in to the urge to roll his eyes before meeting Naruto's wide blue ones. "I'm fine," he repeated firmly. "Really, I'm not sick."
"Yeah, yeah." Although Naruto was now convinced of this, it was best not to lose face after being caught red-handed as being the doting boyfriend. "I dunno. You still look a little sick to me."
Sasuke snorted, the mood broken. "I told you; I'm not the mentally hand-capped one around here."
"So this is what I get for looking after you, huh?"
"I don't need looking after," Sasuke said coolly. He then surveyed the mess on his lap. "Although I could use some help cleaning this up… It really does burn." He gestured to the cooling tea dregs on his right pant leg.
Naruto snorted. "Fine. I'll go and get some paper towels." But when he moved to stand up, Sasuke reached out and firmly grasped his shoulder, holding him down. "Wha--"
Sasuke smirked lightly. And there went Naruto's stomach; straight to the floor. He recognized that look, too.
"I never told you to clean it up with a towel."
A long pause, a leering look, and understanding lit up the smaller man's features.
"No way. You're shitting me."
A throaty chuckle, and shifting as Sasuke scooted himself to the edge of the seat. "C'mon…"
"No. Nuh-uh. That's just weird, man."
"You owe me. Clean up this mess."
"No. No! What are you--HEY! No, that's not even fair! I did not spill tea on your dick!"
"Yes, you did. It's burning pretty badly, really."
"Gah, you suck at innuendo! Let me the fuck go!"
The rasping of sweaty skin across tabletop.
"The counter's cold, ya know."
"And you're kind heavy."
A long, contented sigh, and a face burying into the crook of his neck from behind, hands tightening on the wrists he had pinned to the counter.
"And that's really… uncomfortable, when we're not doing it."
Sasuke shifted and Naruto bit his lip. A low, breathy chuckle. "You don't seem to mind."
"Well I do."
"Really. Now take it out."
"Hn. No, I don't think I will."
"Who said I was done?"
"You fucking pervert!" A brief struggle, rather fruitless seeing as he did his best not to so much as shift his hips. "And I was only supposed to 'clean up the tea', remember?" he added as an afterthought. "That doesn't give you permission to fuck me into the table!"
"And you didn't an excellent clean up job. Very thorough. I should spill tea on myself more often."
"…on yourself? Wait…"
"And it isn't a table."
"Wait, go back to what you said before."
"Hm. Shall we retire to the bedroom then, dobe?"
"What did you say before!?"
A slick, wet sliding sound. Naruto slammed his sweaty forehead back onto the counter and groaned. "Jesus, warn me before you do that…."
"No. I think I like surprising you."
"We'll you've surprised me enough today to qualify me for a coronary."
"You probably don't even know what a coronary is."
"I do tooooaangh… Ahh…"
"Ready to go to our room?"
"That's what I thought."
"You've w-won this time you-nnnaah…"
"Tch. Dobe. I always win."
A pull, a short groan, and Sasuke maneuvered them both backwards.
"Can you make it to the bed?" the raven whispered. "The stairs could probably make for some kinky sex."
"Ugh, you pervert, just get us upstairs. Now."
"Heh, I like that."
Sasuke rolled his eyes, and bent down to kiss him deeply on the mouth. Naruto tilted his head to the side and allowed access to the tongue probing along the seam of his lips. For now, and at least for the next few hours, they couldn't remain blissfully ignorant of their observer.
For now, they had a together.
Some time during the night, Sasuke had rolled away from him. The Indian Summer's relentless heat choked the breath right out of their throats, everything humid, wet and sticky. As the end to the heat grew closer, the fog of moisture of warmth ascended to alarming temperatures. But the end was in sight. For now, though, swimming in sweat as they were, and until they could unbury the air conditioner from its packaging of protective bubble wrap and ten layers of duct tape, they slept apart.
Apart, but together, only an arm's reach away from each other.
What a monumental ruin it was to their night that neither noticed a third party.
As Sasuke slept, Uchiha Sasuke sat on the edge of the bed, gliding his frozen fingers through warm golden hair, looking down at the sleeping Naruto with fondness, warmth bubbling from his vivid red irises. He leaned back on one open hand, tilted his head to have better access to the view he'd waited centuries to see. He ignored the other Sasuke completely. It was a technicality, he knew, one tiny blemish in his newly found destiny.
It could easily be taken care of.
But for now, he drank in the sight with the utmost pleasure.
"Naruto," Sasuke whispered into the night, a dim smile lighting his pale full lips. "Love. I've found you."