A/N: With my gratitude to Kantayra for the beta'ing. No clone was harmed during the writing of this story. Spoilers up to manga 347.

The image stays at the forefront of Naruto's mind long after he's left Konohamaru and the others behind to go home and 'rest.' How he's supposed to rest when so many thoughts swirl in his mind, Naruto does not know.

There's his new attack, and the fact that even though it works – it works better than anyone could have predicted – he's been asked not to use it again. He might not be all that bright, as everyone is fond of reminding him, but he's not a complete idiot. As he lay on his bed, he observes his bandaged hand, and tries not to listen to the Kyuubi.

The demon has been raging for hours about not being able to heal that wound all that well, and how Naruto has no right to damage the Kyuubi's host body. If his tenant can't heal him, it's got to be as bad as he's been told, maybe worse. Which means that the jutsu he's been working on for so long is virtually useless. So much time wasted, and not a step closer to being able to drag Sasuke's sorry ass back home.

Sasuke is another of the things that weigh on his mind. The three-year mark is almost here to the day, and Naruto can't bear to think about what might happen soon. And even if Sasuke defeats Orochimaru, it won't be the end of it. He'll go face Itachi. With the experience Naruto has gained fighting Akatsuki – with everything he's been taught since the first day of Team Seven – he knows that Sasuke won't be able to do it alone. He'll need a team. And the bastard has run away from the only team he's ever had. How does he expect to win alone? He's supposed to be a genius, so why hasn't he figured that out?

And then there's Akatsuki. They want Naruto, he knows that, he's known it for a while now. He's not afraid of them; he knows they can be beaten, and he has people around him to help. But if Akatsuki attacks now, it's only going to delay him going after Sasuke. That's the last thing he wants to happen.

All those worries, however, wink out of existence every time Naruto allows his thoughts to flash back to Konohamaru's new sexy jutsu. The girl on girl version was very nice, and Naruto is kind of proud of the ingenuity Konohamaru has shown. It's the other version, however, that keeps intruding on Naruto's thoughts, and every time it does, he feels like scowling. He doesn't like the flash of intense jealousy that courses through him when the images pop back into his head. He doesn't like it, because he doesn't understand it.

He should feel disgusted in front of that perverted jutsu. He should feel sorry for Sai and Sasuke – although they both could use a bit of humiliation to teach them better manners. He should feel amused that the jutsu worked so well on Sakura, however hard she tried to pretend she wasn't affected. He should feel anything but jealousy. And still, he does.

Wincing at the slight pain when he moves his fingers, he strips down to his boxers and sits cross-legged on the bed before summoning a clone. It stands by the bed, arms crossed and a serious look on its features. Its arm looks fine, Naruto notices absently, but that observation is just a way to delay the inevitable. Sighing, he nods. The clone nods back before executing Naruto's basic sexy jutsu. Even knowing the cute girl in front of him is basically himself, Naruto is appreciative. Lots of curves, long legs, cute smile… He looks down at himself. His boxers are tenting. Little Naruto approves. First experiment is conclusive.

"Sakura?" he suggests, and the clone nods again before transforming in a puff of smoke.

He feels a bit guilty. Sakura would kill him if she knew what he's doing. Although he's not doing anything, is he? Just looking as she – not she, the clone – tries to cover itself in embarrassment. Naruto's cheeks are burning and he feels like the biggest pervert – but Little Naruto continues to approve, and there's a bit of a wet spot growing dark against the fabric of Naruto's boxers.

"A last one," he mutters, wanting nothing more than to be thorough.

"With who?" Sakura's voice asks.

Naruto thinks hard. Most of the girls he knows are Kunoichi, and he doesn't think of them that way. It's only Sakura he's attracted to, and… Well, that'd prove his point completely, he realizes. If he can be hard while looking at a girl he feels nothing for, just because she's a girl, it'll just prove that he's into girls – not that he has any doubt.

He thinks a little longer about whom to pick. Ino's just too fixated on Sasuke. Tenten is…well, he thinks of her as one of the guys more than a girl actually. Hinata…no, he can't do that to sweet Hinata, he wouldn't forgive himself. Temari… nah, he can't perv over Gaara's sister, it'd feel almost like peeping on his own sister. His mind wanders to Teuchi's daughter, but he nixes that, too. In his mind, she's associated with ramen, and his body can be weird, sometimes, when he craves ramen. He doesn't want his scientific experiment to be compromised. He finally figures it out and gives a little shudder of apprehension. Little Naruto even deflates a bit. If he can get hard looking at her, that'll definitely prove his point.

"Tsunade," he says, his voice cracking.

The clone gulps before following his orders. Naruto's blushing is a hundred times worse as he looks, wide-eyed and a bit embarrassed, at a very naked – very voluptuous – Tsunade now standing before him. The curves that were just developing in Sakura's body are full and ripe on hers, and—

He doesn't need to look down to know the experiment is successful. It takes all his self-restraint not to stroke his straining cock through the boxers, or even take it out. Damn it, but he's not going to jerk off to the image of Tsunade, that's just wrong!

He gestures at the clone, and it resumes its normal appearance, mirroring Naruto down to the tented boxers.

"You're a pervert," he accuses the clone.

It shrugs, locking its hands at the back of his head. "What did you expect with Kakashi and Ero-Sennin as teachers?"

Good point, Naruto thinks. He really can't be blamed for any of it. And now for the last part of the experiment…

"Go ahead," he says.

The clone's eyes widen. "Are you sure? I mean… you're already hard. It won't mean anything if I do it now."

Another good point. Naruto has an idea. "Sai," he says briskly. "If that doesn't calm me down, nothing will."

With a grimace of disgust, the clone forms the seals and becomes Sai. A very pale, very naked, slightly pouting Sai. Little Naruto flags down instantly. Naruto beams down at it, then at his clone.

"I knew it!"

The clone gives a thumb up sign, which, along with a bright smile, looks very odd on Sai. Naruto gestures at him.

"Go ahead, change before I get too traumatized."

The clone grins wickedly. "Traumatized? I'll give you traumatized."

In a puff of smoke, it changes into Kiba. Then Shikamaru. Chouji. Fuzzy eyebrows – who's fuzzy in parts Naruto never wanted to imagine. With each new image, Naruto makes sounds of mild disgust, even going as far as to cover his eyes rather than look at Lee. His clone isn't just a pervert; he's reaching whole new levels of wrongness. He hears another small pop, and drops his hand to see what the clone has become now. His eyes meet a dark gaze. He swallows hard. Little Naruto fills up again, so fast and so much that it hurts. Mouth dry and his uninjured hand fisted on his thigh, Naruto stares at Sasuke, who stares right back with a frown.

"You're kidding, right?" Sasuke – the clone – asks, gesturing at Naruto's lap.

Naruto refuses to look down. "It's not like I want to be hard!" he protests.

"But you are. And for me. I mean, for him. He's your friend, for crying out loud!"

Sasuke – no, the clone, damn it! – crosses his arms and scowls. Naruto has no problem imagining this would be the real Sasuke's reaction if he knew—

Refusing to finish that thought, he lets out a cry of frustration and lies down, rolling over onto his stomach and trapping his treacherous cock beneath him.

"It doesn't mean anything," he mutters, his words muffled against the pillow. "I was still excited from seeing the girls earlier, that's all. Nothing more."

The mattress dips next to him. When he turns his head to the side, Naruto sees that the clone has lain down next to him, mirroring his position. They stare at each other for a few seconds. Naruto has some trouble reminding himself that it's not Sasuke next to him.

"It does explain a lot, though," Sasuke says quietly. "Like, why you're not giving up even after almost getting yourself killed a couple times already."

A half smile pierces to Naruto's lips. "You could never kill me," he says, sure of himself.

Sasuke rolls his eyes. "Guess what, dead last. I almost did."

Naruto had forgotten what the familiar insult sounds like in that just as familiar voice. His smile widens just a little. "Almost," he repeats. "You could have done it, but you didn't. And you never will. I'm sure of it."

With a huff, Sasuke turns his head on the pillow, facing away from Naruto. Naruto's smile slowly fades. He'd like to reach and touch Sasuke's hair, but he doesn't dare to move.

"I miss you," he murmurs after a while. "What's the point if you can't see how much progress I've made?"

Sasuke turns to look at him again. His eyes settle on Naruto's bandaged hand and he raises a mocking eyebrow. "Progress, huh?"

"Still working out the kinks," Naruto defends himself. "But you better hope I never use that one on you."

Sasuke shrugs. "Am I supposed to be scared?"

Annoyed, Naruto strikes without warning, pushing him over the edge of the bed. He's surprised when the clone vanishes in a cloud of smoke. He had forgotten.

Burying his face into the pillow again, he sighs. The experiment confirmed his fears. He's got a thing for Sasuke. Which is stupid, because the experiment also confirmed Naruto likes girls, and Sasuke is definitely not a girl. So what does it mean?

"It means I'm screwed," he says aloud, rolling onto his back. "It means the next time I'm in front of Sasuke, I'll either freeze until he gets bored and shoves his fist through my chest again or say something very, very stupid, and he'll laugh at me 'til he's out of breath. Or maybe he won't laugh, he'll just kill me."

Hearing it like this, the future sounds dire. But Naruto is not giving up just for that. He can't. He promised Sakura – promised himself – to bring the bastard home, and he will. And in the meantime…

Before he can think and convince himself it's a bad idea, he creates a clone again. Without waiting to see what the clone will do, he rolls back onto his stomach. After only a second, Sasuke lies next to him, like earlier, facing him.

"You're very gay," Sasuke informs him almost primly.

Naruto shakes his head even as he closes his eyes. "Am not," he says with a yawn.

He's not touching Sasuke, but it's nice to pretend he's there, for a moment. Pretend they're done running, and fighting, if only for just a little while.

"What are you, then?"

He thinks for just a second before answering. "I think I'm Sasuke-sexual."

The last thing he hears before falling asleep is Sasuke's quiet laugh. The last thing he feels, a fleeting hand brushing the hair out of his face. Soon, he thinks as he drifts into dreams.

the end

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