THIS TOOK FOREVER. MAJOR WRITERS BLOCK. I LEFT IT ALONE FOR MONTHS BEFORE I HAD INSIPIRATION, FORGIVE ME.
The title should finally tie in to a slightly funny extent. Near the end. Through the middle and beginning, things are bad. More Neji, and Sasuke getting to do some ass kicking. Itachi getting to…well, read xD.
This is mostly why the chapter had an M rating. The other two chapters were nothing compared.
EdSpikeSessyGirl, my Hinata is not as cool as the one from TGILC. :( She's just matching her usual character. D: Also, for everyone, Neji is Only a tiny bit more than a year younger than Itachi. He's a junior, so he's not Naruto's age, he's considerably older. Seventeen. I just wanted to clear that up before people were like, "WHAT!? Neji's Naruto's age, why would he…" So, enjoy.
Warnings: Bad things, I wouldn't want to spoil anything. M-rated. Don't read if you're uncomfortable with two men and…stuff. Figure this out.
"Sa-Sakura?" Naruto was currently begging into his cell phone, after hearing the girl's greeting.
"Naruto? Hey, what's the matter? You sound -" She started, straightening herself and pressing her ear closer to the phone on the other end.
"I know, I know," Naruto was still a little breathless, trying to recover from what had just happened. "Sakura, if it's not to much to ask, I need a place to sleep. I'm not asking you to put up with me or anything, I'll stay in your basement, if you want. I just can't go home right now." His words were messy and rushed.
She pondered what to say in her head. She'd been Naruto's friend since near the end of elementary school, and he wasn't exactly what you'd call a risky male to let sleep in your house. After, oh say, five years of his clumsy, good natured attitude in the background, she'd know better. Even her parents thought so, but better to keep him a secret anyway. Besides that, if he needed this, she could help him. After trying to get her hooked up with Sasuke, (although it was unsuccessful,) she'd be willing to do just about anything he needed help with. "You can sleep in my room on the floor," She said in a stern voice, "If you tell me what happened tonight when you get here, because it was something bad."
Naruto chewed on his lip and scratched his head. "Alright," he managed, regretfully. He'd either have to make something up or trust Sakura with the truth. Maybe talking through his problem would make things better, but he could only hope. "Thanks."
"You know where I live, right? It's not a long walk from the school. Where are you?"
"Near the school," Naruto lied through his teeth. Oh well, he'd just get there a little later than she expected. He didn't want to make her suggest, 'go to someone closer.' Neither Shikamaru nor Kiba would take this lightly, and they'd drill for explanations that he couldn't give. He needed a girl, if he had to risk saying anything.
"I'll leave the front door unlocked, just be quiet when you come up, okay? My parents will be in their rooms for the night by the time you get here, probably watching TV, so unless you fall down the stairs -"
"Thanks, Sakura. Really, I'll make it up to you somehow." Naruto interrupted knowingly before she could go much further.
She smiled and sighed, and they hung up the phones simultaneously.
"If you go back upstairs without saying a word, I won't kill you."
Sasuke just looked daggers at his brothers backside, unmoved by the statement. Very funny. "I'm not going to let you sulk all night, and seeing how Naruto left, I'd assume things didn't go well, without watching the tape." He growled. Itachi remained resting on his elbows against the counter. So much for something nice to give Hinata, though that was the least of worries. He probably wouldn't hear from Naruto outside of necessary school contact for days, and there was no chance he'd ever step foot in his house again.
"You should have taken my word for it." Sasuke mumbled, adding on, since his brother wasn't cooperating. He should have at least tried calling him, or calling Iruka, to make sure he got home okay, or make some kind of amends.
"Go away." Itachi seethed, pondering whether or not to be angry about him for slipping down the stairs earlier. At least it would give him something to do other than despise himself, which he'd undoubtedly do for the rest of his lifespan in some corner of his mind.
"I know how you hate having to listen to your stupid younger brother," Sasuke spat, "But I guess I could grace you with this." Sasuke was tempted to tackle him, but he'd lose in a physical fight, being younger and not fully grown like Itachi was. "Naruto loves you."
Itachi paused his string of mental curses on Sasuke.
Sasuke watched a reaction that only he would have known to look for. Complete and instant stillness from Itachi. Now he'd hear out the rest. Sasuke watched expectantly for his older brother to turn, and finally, after ten long seconds of quiet, he did. "Was that suppose to be funny?" He deadpanned.
"No." Sasuke rejoined, a tad less pissed off this time. Good, a response. "But you have to look at it from his point of view. That's why he was so freaked out. I think he planned on telling you, but then he thought that all you wanted was -" Sasuke was not getting to the point Itachi wanted.
"Shut up," Itachi ordered, taken aback. "It wasn't a joke?"
Sasuke sighed, "No. It wasn't a joke." He searched Itachi's eyes for some kind of recognition, but nothing came, not at first. He was trying to put pieces together. He'd been right. Near the end when Naruto walked out, he was sure he was mistaken.
Finally, his body's tense stopped and his thoughts gone, he spoke. "Then I suppose I ruined everything."
"Give it time." Sasuke added, trying to be comforting and failing. Time wasn't going to fix anything - Naruto was pretty much a grudge holder, though he didn't take action on his grudges. Itachi didn't need time - he needed opportunity.
If Iruka had known that he'd been entering someone else's house at night with only their daughter's permission - no, actually, he didn't know what Iruka would have done. That was how scary the thought was. At least he wasn't really breaking in - the front door was unlocked, just like Sakura had said.
He prayed to any and every god his clumsiness wouldn't come into play as he snuck up the stairs, and towards the cracked door with the light on. He also hoped it was the right door, and it was. Sakura had stepped half way out and dragged him in, literally, by the collar.
"Sa-Sakura, choking…" He gasped, stumbling sideways.
"Shhhh, they're downstairs, I thought they'd be in bed." Sakura hissed under her breath, nearly slamming her door.
"They didn't see me?" It was more of a question to himself. He looked down and silently thanked his feet, which had actually done some good. For once. Sakura didn't bother answering, since the response was obvious. Currently, she was summing up the boy in front of her.
"You're late." It was to avoid saying what she really thought. She was louder now, since her door was shut. He was a mess. His spikes had gone flat, his clothes appeared to be messy and out of order, still in the right places but not orderly, he was sweating, and his face was red like he'd been crying. Not a state you often saw Naruto in, with the exception of the messiness.
"Oh, right, I was further from the school than I thought." He grinned and stared around her room absently, hoping to ward off questions from her. There was a sleeping bag on the floor on the other side of her bed, so if anyone opened the door, they'd have to go back there to see him sleeping. Other than that, her room was pretty basic. Average for a girl her age.
"Than you thought?" Her comment was a tad sarcastic. There was no way the blonde was getting off easy.
"More or less," He tried, scratching the back of his head. "Thanks again, Sakura." He offered another smile, but Sakura still wasn't buying it.
"No way, Uzumaki. I won't be charmed by your smiles into forgetting the promise." She smirked at him, and he groaned. "You either tell me, or I call my parents and say you broke in." She really wouldn't. But what Naruto didn't know wouldn't hurt him. She wanted her info. After the groan, though, there was an entirely different expression on his face. The opposite of a nervous smile.
"Don't tell anyone, alright? Nobody." He stared her down, willing to leave before he told Sakura anything if she showed signs of sarcasm about it.
"I won't." The response came hesitantly, but sincerely. She'd never seen the goofy boy look so serious about anything. His blue eyes were dark and cloudy. She loped over to her twin bed and sat down, and Naruto proceeded to his new bed on the other side of it and did the same. He'd gotten comfortable, lying on his stomach elbows down, with his hands holding his head.
Naruto began without further prompting. What did he have to lose, anyway? With the exception of her close friends, no one would believe her if she started gossiping. He had a feeling she wouldn't at all, but he thought of a precaution. He wouldn't say "Itachi," "Sasuke," or "Uchiha." Even Sasuke was a big enough hint. The boys were almost always associated with each other. "See…There's this person. In girl language, I have a huge crush on them." Naruto watched Sakura's green eyes widen, and she opened her mouth to interrupt.
"I knew it."
"What?" Naruto nearly jumped, hoping he didn't hear what he dreaded.
"You've always got that look in your eyes! I always, always knew there was someone!" Sakura clasped her hands together in front of her chest, completely forgetting the situation at hand. At first Naruto sighed in relief. She hadn't guessed who. Then he tried to quiet her down, but her squeals had ended too late.
"Sweetie, are you on the phone?" Her mom. Outside the door. Naruto ducked and hid up against the side of the bed, and Sakura jerked her cell phone, placed handily on her nightstand, to he ear.
"Yeah. Sorry mom." She called, but the door came halfway open. Naruto shook and held his hands over his mouth. He was sure he hadn't done anything this bad in his life, at least by Iruka "bad" standards. He didn't dare look.
"We're going to bed, asleep by eleven, alright?" Naruto could tell the woman was smiling, not at all suspicious. Sakura looked either very calm, or her mother was very use to jumpiness.
"Yes mom. Goodnight." The door couldn't have shut quickly enough. Naruto peered up over the edge of Sakura's bed, and they both let out the breath they were holding. "This had better be a good story," She muttered, turning back to him. He whined at her comment before going on. He settled back against the sleeping bag in the same position, and a new emotion burned in his eyes. Something like searing mental pain.
"But…Something happened. They don't know a thing about my feelings, we're friends. Sort of. Not exactly, but we've spent a lot of time together." Sakura watched normally bright eyes get duller and greyer. He was narrating the story in his head, far ahead of the words that came out of his mouth. Or worse - he had a mental picture. "They invited me over, to have dinner and study tonight. I was really hoping that I'd get the courage to tell them."
Sakura just nodded him on, sitting cross-legged and staring.
"Then, some things happened. Turns out, they didn't really care about me at all. They were just taking advantage of me. I was planning on staying the night there, but I couldn't, and I couldn't go back to Iruka. He'd flip." Explaining why he "Couldn't go home," earlier.
Sakura didn't respond at first, but Naruto had brought his story to a close. After a few moments of Sakura's pondering, she leaned forward on her elbows in a position equal to his. "It's another guy, isn't it?"
Naruto's eyes shut and his hand slipped down, chin landing on his arms. "Right." But his eyes opened when Sakura leaned down and messed his hair up even more, comfortingly.
"No. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks." She was smiling sweetly, sincere and confident in her answer.
"I know. Thank you. Much….But, that's not quite the problem." Naruto chewed on his lip, wondering if the earlier words "taking of advantage of" and Itachi's age would be enough for Sakura to put together. He hoped not, but his hope was futile. "They're….four years older than I am. Eighteen. Legal."
Sakura was bright, and it didn't take her long to have an attitude change. Her eyes widened and she straightened up. "So you mean, all he wanted was to take advantage of you? He did? How -" The words caught in her throat and refused to come up. Not a very good subject to bring up in context. New words got passed them. "Who do -"
"I can't say, so don't ask. I don't want anything to happen to him for it." Naruto murmured. "Legal, remember?"
She just leaned down and messed with his hair more, since he looked like he was in serious need of comfort. "That's selfless," Naruto just half shrugged. "So, you must really love them a lot." She looked to gauge his reaction, and it wasn't controlled this time.
"Doesn't matter." He managed.
"That's not true! You have to tell -"
She began, but Naruto interrupted her, almost loudly enough to cause her parents to get suspicious, though not quite. "It doesn't matter," He ground out. "Not to him." He shifted and turned his body around, so he lay on the sleeping bag face up. "I just have to forget all about it. I'll find somebody else." But the last words were about as convincing as a child telling his parents he didn't steal from the cookie jar, with ten times more sadness.
"You don't want to." Sakura stated bluntly.
"…No. But think about it, Sakura. If someone did that to you, could you ever believe them if they told you otherwise?"
She watched him cover his eyes with his arm, and truthfully replied, "No. I couldn't."
"And wouldn't you move on?" Naruto questioned.
This time, she didn't agree with him. "No." Naruto looked up, surprised by her answer. "No, not if I really loved them, and knew that I wasn't going to find anyone better for me. Think about it." She rolled over now, so she was looking away from him, and dully added, "Set the alarm on your phone so you can be out of here before my parents get up. If you leave by seven, you should make it."
Naruto watched her backside, but she showed no signs of turning back around. "Alright. Thanks Sakura." He let her comment go, but he was thanking her for advice besides on when to set his alarm.
It was still almost half an hour to first class, but getting to the school early meant being away from the sulking Itachi, who would come later, or not at all. He skipped too, sometimes. A self signed sick note was legal for him, anyway. Sasuke was almost completely alone, with the exception of a few other early-goers, and he was leaning up against his locker with cell phone in hand. He was wondering what had happened with Naruto, since Iruka didn't call with court charges the night before. Naruto had never been this early, but he was usually punctual, and if he didn't come near five minutes till, Sasuke would be willing to skip, and drag Itachi along to find him.
He flipped open his phone and checked for calls, since it was on silent and he wouldn't have known, but still no Naruto. There was a new text message, from an equally familiar number. Hinata.
Sasuke stared in what was for an Uchiha, horror, but it was really just a slight eyebrow raise, after reading the message.
Please meet me by your locker early. It's about Naruto, he might be in danger.
And in the absence of her usual, hesitantly typed, "I love-yous," and heart symbols, Sasuke knew it was beyond serious. He looked around, already at his locker. He probably should have checked for that message earlier, but there was no fighting it now. After a few anxious minutes, the sound of shoes hitting concrete came quickly, running down the halls.
Before he could even turn to look, Hinata was in front of him. She was already in an unusual panic mode. Tears streamed down from lavender eyes, and she was trying to wipe them away, her embarrassment peeking through her panic. Sasuke realized he'd never seen her cry - she'd been shy, but always content, and not easily unnerved. "Sa-Sasuke, I'm so thankful you're here…I wo-worried you wouldn't see the message in ta-time, it's-"
He cut her off, just a usual that came with her being flustered. He stroked her shoulder with one hand, and the top of her head with the other. A school safe, childish gesture, for safety if any staff member was watching. Heads turned, and Sasuke could have sworn he heard fan girls throwing fits. If it wasn't for the current danger that Naruto might be in, and for Hinata crying, he would have smirked. She was considerably shorter, so he leaned down closer to her. "It's alright, just calm down first."
She nodded and tried to take deep breaths, and Sasuke aided in wiping her eyes. After a few moments, she started to talk, a bit quieter. She seemed to be deliberately lowering her voice. "It was last night." She whimpered. "I heard Neji -" She paused, since just hearing the name was enough to get the anger to hit Sasuke's expression, full force. "He was talking about…about," Her thought up words were getting ahead of what was coming out, and she shivered.
"It's okay, really." Sasuke cooed, sensing her apprehension.
Suddenly the words began spilling, but she didn't finish her thought straight away. She started new. "Neji was on the phone last night. At first, he was just talking about numbers…he said four or five. I…he was talking about other guys, and then he - he mentioned Naruto, and I listened more…" She paused momentarily, and started to lose it again. "He's going to hurt Naruto!" She finally managed.
Sasuke was putting the pieces together before she even said what she did next, that, and, what to what extent "hurt" was. He already knew. "I thought…he'd be okay. If it was just Neji, he'd be able to get away just fine…no problem…but he said four or five…Others…" The girl went into slight hysterics again, and more tears started to flow. "I don't want them to do that to Naruto…" She gasped, subtly begging Sasuke to do something. He, however, already had his entire plan set up.
"Hinata," He murmured, lifting his hand from her head. "When?"
"He said before school today…" She whispered. "I should have told you last night. I just worried that Neji would find out, and change something, and I wouldn't know…" She stopped again, Sasuke's fingers against her mouth, a gentle silencing.
"Don't beat yourself up over something like that. Without you, I wouldn't even know what was happening." She nodded, and Sasuke continued. "Don't worry about it. I'll help Naruto, but I need you to go into class and say I'm sick, alright?" Her eyes suddenly widened.
"How are you going to do it by yourself!? If there are a lot more people there, and Neji, you'll get beat up, and I don't want you to get hurt…You could tell a supervisor, and -" This time, she stopped herself. That wouldn't do any good. Neji would come right back.
Sasuke shook his head. "I won't be alone. I'm getting someone better than anyone else to help me." He gave her a quick squeeze, and she nodded. "Don't worry," He added again, under his breath. She nodded again, and headed off towards class.
After she was gone, Sasuke lost his mask of control he was using for her. He bolted down the hallways, ignoring the strange glances, lost in rage at his girl's elder cousin, and fear for his best friend.
He was getting Itachi, full speed, for here came his "opportunity."
He was at the back of the campus grounds, leaning up against the far wall of his large high school, much earlier than he'd ever been there before. Since the first class wasn't until nine and he'd woken up at Sakura's at seven, (then was shuffled out for fear of exposure,) it was still a long time before he needed to do anything.
Besides that, the last thing he wanted to do was go inside that building and be exposed to Itachi. He'd see him, no question, and even though it was cowardly, and he knew he couldn't avoid going to school without Iruka having mental issues, he was going to avoid him at all costs for as long as possible.
But he was still hurting.
He wondered what Itachi's real intentions were. He couldn't see himself talking what the Uchiha had done as a gag, but an accident seemed more applicable. Though, it would have only been accidental, or a mentally, not physically driven occurrence, if there had been some kind of feelings there. And that didn't make any sense at all, so Naruto just had to go with the spur of the moment opportunity to take advantage of being alone.
He was going to pretend somewhere in his head that wasn't the case.
"Why are you out here so early?" A voice broke through his thoughts that was all too familiar, but the last time he'd heard it, he'd heard it in whispers, and the recollection of yesterday was enough to make him sick. He never heard anything from Neji, and he seemed calm and cool like he usually was. Like Sasuke, but there wasn't much of a hidden sweet side to him, unlike his best friend. Still - aloofness was necessary.
"I should be asking you that," He responded, but he quickly regretted saying anything, since his voice shot through an octave. Apparently he couldn't reassure himself.
The Hyugga made no attempt to tell him why. "All alone, too. Why isn't Sasuke or Sakura with you? Did anything happen?" Naruto wasn't sure if his sympathy was real or fake. He was either good at this, or sincere.
"Not with them, no. They're probably still on their way here."
The other was quiet for a moment, then moved from his side-front position to Naruto to being directly in front of him, and coming closer. "It's not the best idea to be alone back here in the earlier morning, especially if you're a scrawny freshman." There was a smirk on his face now, and Naruto met it with a sneer. So much for sincerity. He didn't try to get away - Neji would get a hell of a fight no matter what kind of moves he made. When he didn't stop, Naruto lowered himself into what was like a low human pounce, and clenched his fists. He was on the verge of decking the Hyugga. There was no game this time that he'd been called to participate in with a straight face, so likewise, no rules.
Suddenly, someone else had his arm in a deadlock, the one he was originally preparing to swing.
Naruto swung his head around, and some other, unidentified and unknown male Neji's age was holding that arm back. Naruto then made the attempt to pull his other arm around and knock this knew person's teeth out, but that arm was being held back as well, by yet another male unknown to him.
Two, well, he thought he could handle that. Three, when two were holding his arms…He still had his feet. His hope, his clumsy feet. He threw one to one side and it slammed into the man on his right, but he didn't falter and that one was jerked back into place by yet another man. Naruto didn't even bother to move his last free leg, for that was held in place too. This was planned. He'd set this entire thing up…and Naruto had been in just the wrong place.
All four of his limbs were jerked back simultaneously, and the four men pinned him against the concrete wall. Neji was in his same spot, a pleased smirk twisted on his face. "Very good…"
"Don't." Naruto finally took in the reality of what was about to happen to him. Begging was the only option he'd have left. He could scream…but what reaction would that draw out from his captors?
Neji just came forward, reaching into his pant pockets for something. "Please, Don't, I'll do anything else…" What was free on Naruto's body began to tremble, violently. He tried to force himself from his holders, thinking with sheer force he could get away, to no avail. The men holding him were probably paid for this, and probably built for holding back a freshman.
What slid out of Neji's pocket was black at first, and a sharp, silvery metal came where his hand stopped it's grip. "No! A-" Naruto opened his mouth to scream, forgetting his reasoning from earlier, but Neji had swept forward and shoved two fingers in his mouth.
"Bite me and regret it," Neji hissed, although his face was still pleased. He was like a sadistic cat that had just caught the mouse. Naruto didn't bite him, he didn't want to know what else he'd have to regret, beyond what was happening already.
Naruto shut his lids and physically forced his eyes to absorb the tears that had formed. He wasn't going to let Neji watch him cry, but he didn't know how long he'd last, either. The bronze-haired Hyugga slid his fingers from the blonde's mouth and sucked on them himself, pleased by Naruto's silence. He forced the smaller chin up so they were locking eyes, and bit down hard on his lips, drawing blood.
Naruto attempted to grit his teeth since his lip barrier was broken, but Neji was already taking full advantage of his open mouth, and doing anything but behaving was out of the question, unless he wanted more torture.
When Neji was through ravaging his mouth, he started at the blonde's throat and the knife came into Naruto's view. His trembling got harder, if possible, but the knife only tore the front of his shirt open. It didn't touch any flesh.
Naruto, now that his mouth was free, bit down on his own bloody lip. He'd whimpered, and that was giving Neji satisfaction. His captor had found a sensitive spot on his neck, and was now abusing it. "There?" He murmured, sliding his hand in a straight downward line on Naruto's bare chest.
Naruto didn't answer, but he couldn't hold back his moan, this time, although he was ashamed of himself. Neji bit down harshly and sucked at the sensitive skin, leaving a mark. Naruto thought absently that he'd have to borrow cover-up from Sakura if he came out of this alive.
Thinking of Sakura only made him think of Iruka, then Sasuke, which made him think of Itachi, and the tears started to pour. Would he come out of this alive? What else would Neji do when he had finished with his body?
"Aah-!" Naruto threw his head to one side of the concrete when Neji's hand dipped below the waistband of his pants and boxers underneath. He didn't fight the sound anymore. He didn't think anymore. He let his brain succumb to uselessness.
"Mine…" Neji purred. "All mine…"
Naruto's lower body clothing still mostly intact, a solitary finger made it's way around and the most ultimate form of violation overtook, making his legs nearly give out, despite already being trapped. "Nnnh!"
He slid the knife back into his pocket, but Naruto wasn't paying attention. "You're behaving very nicely, Naruto" Neji mumbled, as if that was some kind of explanation.
And in the moment when Neji let down his guard to concentrate on putting the blade back into it's plastic case in his pocket, the younger of the Uchiha brother's found his moment to strike. At first it was all colors to Naruto's blurry eyes, but after a few moments his orbs had processed what was going on. The black and white mass was Sasuke, and he'd slammed his entire body weight into the unprepared Neji, who even though he was bigger, faltered being unready and so relaxed. For now, he was only out of the way.
One of the men dropped Naruto's arm in shock, but he was still too out of it to take advantage. Somewhere in some corner of his mind that had deemed the situation hopeless, relief was starting to grow. He heard a cracking sound beside him, like someone cracking their knuckles in preparation for a fight, and with hardly a second glance, all four of his limbs were released and Neji's hired men fled. The blonde stumbled forward, his balance already lost.
But before he could fall over, a blanket fell around his shoulders and wrapped around what was revealed on him. He was pulled against something much warmer and a little less firm compared to the concrete wall, and he nuzzled his head against it. He was too far gone to act like anything but a doll.
He heard a loud yell, and immediately deemed it Sasuke. He tried to turn his head, but this was much too comfortable, and his brain was still too lost.
Neji had retaliated to Sasuke almost immediately. He tore forward into the smaller Uchiha, trying to get back to Naruto since he'd previously shoved him one way, but he quickly realized the blonde was free and he'd have to go through someone even bigger to get his pleasure back. He decided to take out his new rage on Sasuke, and he was doing so now. The blade had exited his pocket once again, and Sasuke was precisely ducking his head and missing it, waiting for an opening. He was a little worried. He'd always been precise and athletic, but he'd never fought anyone like this before.
Sasuke was a beat too late, and luckily it was Neji's fist and not the knife that caught him. The pressure to his head made him skid, and with one hand nursing his skull, he changed tactics and ducked his head to Neji's stomach and pushed more weight into him, hoping to knock him over. He didn't have the bodyweight to, but he had the coordination, and Neji tripped over the lithe boy's feet. They both came down, but Sasuke had ripped the knife from his hand in the confusion.
There ending position was both on the ground, Sasuke on top and pinning him down with his knees. The brave Freshman even held the knife to the back of the Hyugga's throat. He snarled under his breath, "Stay the hell away from Naruto, or I'll really rip you open."
The older didn't respond, So Sasuke held the blunt side of the hand knife to his throat. "Leave."
Sasuke couldn't see it, but a smirk fell across his victim's face. His capture flipped around, and Sasuke really had no intention of ripping his neck open to be in juvenile hall or worse - be known for murder - his entire life. The Hyugga threw Sasuke off of him, and he skidded on his side a few good feet, growling at the new burns on his bare arms.
Meanwhile, the older of the brothers was trying to bring Naruto's coherent thought back. He tried his hardest not to look at Neji or Sasuke. Seeing either of them in this situation would have made him snap, and as Naruto often thought, it was considered child abuse for him to so much as touch the Hyugga.
Naruto was trembling and hiding any and all parts of his body that he could. Itachi laid his hands on the top of his head and tried to get him to stop without talking - assuming Naruto didn't understand who was holding him - but there was no stopping him. Finally, he decided to talk to him. No clue what to say…what did you say? Obviously he wasn't alright and that was a stupid question, but he had to ask something…"Are you bleeding anywhere?" He thought of the knife.
But only hearing this voice was enough to make the recollection of the past events, Sasuke's hisses of pain, and the night before come rushing into his head. He pushed away and freed his body completely, and Itachi moved with no resistance, this time. The blanket Itachi had already been holding slipped off, and he spun around, searching for Neji. But all that movement at once made him about ready to fall again. Itachi had to hold him up by his arms so he wouldn't collapse.
Sasuke threw the knife off far in one direction. He didn't want to use it, and he didn't want Neji to get his hands on it. The Hyugga managed to tackle him, and Sasuke didn't have the strength to get him off. He'd have to settle for knocking him out somehow, but for now he was taking a beating. Neji would probably succeed in knocking him out first if he didn't get it together. Sasuke covered his face with both of his palms and Neji's fists did less damage, but Neji just jerked his arms away. Sasuke vaguely remembered Itachi telling him that a hard enough strike to the vein in the back of the neck would knock you out.
Sasuke reached one arm that had been tossed aside around Neji's neck, pulled his hand in a chopping position back, and hit Neji with all the strength he had. The older boy's eyes fell shut against his will. Sasuke, exhausted and beat up, crawled out from underneath him, Neji fell face against the ground.
Naruto, unable to go back to the blanket, much less Itachi, was just standing still and trying to recompose himself. He fisted the two halves of his shirt and tried to pull them closer together, but the damage was obvious enough, and Itachi had a hard time looking at all. The part that made Itachi want to maul the only unconscious Junior was that Naruto's neck and collar bone, stopping near the top of his chest, sported several purplish blossoms. Love bites.
Besides that, the still noticeable yet greatly receding "problem" at his hips.
"You alright?" Sasuke stood up and half stumbled towards them, addressing Naruto. Itachi observed the damage, but didn't try to help him. In his brotherly head, he knew the last thing Sasuke wanted was help, and they both didn't want to worry Naruto with someone else's problems.
The blonde didn't make a sound. He tried to calm his own trembling, squeezing the torn fabric of his shirt until his knuckles turned as white as Sasuke's usual skin.
Itachi lifted the discarded blanket off the ground, and as if the night before had been completely forgotten, Naruto did the opposite of shy away when Itachi offered to wrap it around him again. He pressed against Itachi's side, and both of the Uchiha came to comfort the suddenly crying mess.
"We should probably get him home," Sasuke offered, rubbing circles on his best friends shoulders, Itachi stroking the top of his head.
But like Itachi's voice beforehand, the thought of going home to Iruka in this state was enough to make him scream his protest, and he did so. He pulled his head away just slightly from his newly found pillow, and stared up at Itachi with horror is his eyes. "Don't take me home! Iruka could die of a heart attack!" He shrieked through sobs.
The brothers sighed in unison in relief, Naruto back to just about as normal as he could be in the situation, and finally talking. Sasuke offered something much more suitable. "Let's take him to our place first." He glanced at Neji who was still on the ground, satisfied with himself. The Hyugga would wake up pissed off, and unless he wanted another beating, he wasn't coming back.
Naruto nodded vigorously, back against Itachi's side. He started to think normally again, his mind returning to the real world. He ignored any and all thoughts of last night's dinner date, and tried his hardest to think of this as compensation.
"The swelling isn't going down at all." Naruto muttered, pressing the cloth wrapped baggie full of ice back against his neck. Itachi was sitting beside him in their living room, and both were trying not to look at each other. The awkwardness of being together had finally come back, full force.
Sasuke had gotten him a new shirt, something that wouldn't have looked so suspicious to Iruka, since Naruto was constantly borrowing clothes - Iruka knew well enough that Naruto's clumsiness often resulted in soiled shirts, so he never asked any more. "Hinata thought that would at least make them look more like minor bruises…" Sasuke sat across from them, referring to Hinata's non-stop cell phone abuse from earlier. Sasuke hadn't answered at first - he knew he'd have to make a lot of calming her down, and he didn't want to have to explain out loud in front of Naruto a relive of the events - But then he remembered that she'd also worried about his safety, so if he didn't answer, she may of thought he was unconscious or something, and that would have resulted in unnecessary calling of the police, or worse. His mother. So he picked up, tried to explain as non-graphically as possible, and asked about the hickeys.
"They're still the same." Naruto replied, checking again and nodding.
"Then I'm going to go raid my mom's make up." Sasuke stated, giving up on the ice.
"Your Mom's skin is just as pale as yours." Naruto grimaced, knowing that when he got home, Iruka would definitely ask, if there were smudgy white marks all over his neck. He thought a covering shirt would be fine, but he'd eventually have to take that off, and he didn't want to risk Iruka seeing them, especially after hiding them.
"I'll find something closer to your color up there," He stood up, headed for the stairs, and once out of Naruto's sideways glance, hit Itachi's shoulder lightly in a way that screamed, "and-I'll-take-extra-long-so-you-two-can-make-up-and-have-a-moment."
Since they'd brought Naruto home with them, Itachi hadn't said a word, though he really was trying. It was hard for an Uchiha to think of an apology besides, "I'm sorry," but that hadn't cut it the night before. He'd never been put in this kind of situation before, so he was really racking his brain. Besides an apology - what did you say for comfort?
Naruto, on the other hand, was trying to forget everything involving both this morning and his experience last night. He'd made the decision…How much more could he possibly be hurt by it's response? He was going to say it, going to tell him.
He started off with something different, though, for if he just blurted things out now, Itachi might have thought he was insane. More so than usual. He was trying to think of how he could possibly say thank you. He went with his instinct to just say it. He pulled the same blanket from before tighter around him, and leaned back against the couch instead of sitting up. "Thanks."
"For what?" He asked, wondering if he hadn't just hallucinated.
"Well, for helping me back there." Naruto laughed nervously, but it seemed to be forced. Something burned in his eyes and rested on the tip of his tongue that was far from a "thank you."
Itachi couldn't hide his Uchiha sarcasm as much as he wanted to. He couldn't let Naruto feel guilty. Someone who always covered things with guilt and smiles. "Did you think if we'd seen you, we would have just walked on by?" Itachi grumbled.
"I knew you'd help me…But, I just didn't think anyone would find us back there. Hopelessness just took over." Naruto replied, sounding relieved to an even greater extent. "I guess it would have for anyone."
"If I was your size, I suppose I would have felt a little helpless, as well." At first the Uchiha smiled, but then it faded. Naruto had found no humor, nor shown any anger at the statement regarding his size.
Naruto had just curled up tighter. Itachi wasn't clueless…He knew this had to do with something besides Neji, and earlier. This was something else. Thanks to his little brother's revelations, Itachi sensed exactly what it was. It wasn't Neji anymore - it was him. He was the pain. The violation. Naruto's thoughts had strayed back to the previous night.
Itachi knew if he tried to tell him the truth, Naruto would only be more offended - a user and a liar. Why would he believe? No sensible person would have.
"Itachi, I freaked out last night…Mostly because," Naruto started loudly, "'Cause…" The older Uchiha just turned and listened. Was he really going to say it? If Sasuke hadn't been lying…"Because, Hah," Naruto shook his head back and forth angrily, probably thinking of the best way to word it. "So, so, maybe it's really stupid, but, I got upset because I, Erggggh." He slapped his hands to the top of his head.
"Say whatever you need to."
"Because I liii-" Naruto bit his tongue but finally just let it go. Like he'd assured himself before, how much more harm could it do? It didn't even matter how he felt. "-Ike you. Love you."
His little brother had been telling the truth. Itachi's face hadn't changed, and Naruto took that as a bad sign. He lowered his head some and murmured, "Stupid, right?" He nervously rubbed his shoulder with the opposite hand, but Itachi reached towards him and held it instead.
"How much of this would you believe?" He asked quickly, starring slightly down at the blonde. "I cannot name it, but this is what I know. I'm attached to you, just like anyone who meets you and likes you is. I would ever want to see you be upset or hurt, and your smiles light up a room." The words were almost Sasuke-esque. Probably how the younger of them had told Hinata his feelings - blunt, truthful, and awkward. Maybe he was telling him the truth, too, and his reasons for loving Itachi were all too similar in category. However, he didn't listen, just pulled his hand away.
"I wouldn't believe you feel the same, not after - " The words "last night" got caught up in his throat, and he didn't bother to finish. Itachi knew the exact words, anyway. Helping him earlier was plenty of compensation, but this was…mean.
"Well…I would have said it was a convenient excuse." Itachi chuckled, and Naruto glared in confusion. An excuse? For what? Itachi began explaining before Naruto could answer. "You remember that noise we heard?"
"Oh, yeah. Hey, what was that?" Naruto let everything else go for just a moment, all of his sadness, and thought of that thumping and sliding he'd heard from upstairs. Itachi noticed how he seemed to let go, too…Naruto was probably the only person he'd ever know who could be raped or close to one hour, and be back to normal the next. He wasn't hard to fix.
At first Naruto continued to look confused, then his mouth fell open. "He was there? Listening?" Listening to him say all of those things that your best male friend was certainly not supposed to hear? Why would he possibly want to be there when…
"I tried, believe me. I can't do much to stop him without mother getting angry." Itachi muttered, but abruptly noticed Naruto was panicking.
"He heard me say all that! Gah!" Naruto tugged on his hair slightly, his eyes wide and his expression still distraught with an embarrassed fear. "He'll laugh at me! He was probably there eavesdropping so he could blackmail me with it!" The blonde started shaking his head back and forth, but Itachi rested his hands against the smaller one's placed on Naruto's scalp, and slid them away, Naruto's force falling immediately.
Best not to tell him Sasuke's actual uses for the information…or the tape. "Besides the point, Hinata doesn't play volleyball. He was there because he worried about you, is all. I lied." Itachi clasped Naruto's hands together and held them with both of his own in front of them. Hand-Sandwich.
"He was right to worry, wasn't he?" Naruto was letting the words out quietly now, almost afraid - not afraid, upset to say them. He kept his eyes on their mingled hands and did not dare look up. Itachi's eyes would undoubtedly make him pass out, if anything could tie that knot right now. The Uchiha dropped one of Naruto's hands and using both of his own, stroked fingertips one at a time.
Naruto's concentration remained glued to the movements, while his face changed colored and his body fought off little shivers. "Maybe distracting me from Sasuke was one thing, but that went far beyond." His voice mirrored his physical struggle.
"I know." Equally quiet. Itachi traced little, unidentifiable patterns on Naruto's palm. The blonde swallowed air, then started to tug his hand away. He half turned his torso and yanked on his hand, but Itachi drew him back - this time from behind. The elder Uchiha's arm curled around his shoulders, and he drew him tightly into his front. The same two hands that had been dancing before remained together, off to one side.
"Itachi." Naruto tried to make it sound like a demand, a warning, anything but a breathy whisper - and it had come out just the way he'd hoped to avoid. His head as telling him to stop, but his heart was telling him otherwise, and Naruto had no concept of "mind over matter." Itachi…maybe he had gone too far. But purposely? Just to hurt him? Taking advantage of him…? Those couldn't be the reasons.
Naruto knew that took courage to muster. One thing he realized about Uchiha…they didn't apologize. Sasuke didn't, and until then, Itachi didn't. Naruto clutched the fabric at the back of Itachi's shirt, pulling and twisting. "As much as I tried to reassure myself, I couldn't have stayed away from you long." The blonde murmured.
"Are. You. Nervous." Itachi tried to hide is blatant amusement, and failed miserably. It hardly sounded like a question. Maybe it came with happiness, or relief. Maybe he'd been killing to do this for a while. Naruto thought of Neji, and that day at lunch. He'd undoubtedly seen that.
Naruto was quiet for less than two seconds before confidently responding, "Nope." Itachi's hand, that had previously been attached to Naruto's, made it's way to the small of the blonde's back, where he continued drawing small patterns. Naruto shifted a little.
"No." Itachi's hand didn't hesitate this time. The moment he heard the N, his hand was traveling up Naruto's spine and around his face to his jaw. Naruto shivered, just a little.
"No…" Itachi lifted Naruto's chin just slightly. Naruto squeezed his eyes shut.
"Uhm…" Naruto's eye lids lifted one at a time, and he slowly focused on the perfect face in front of him. Instead of fainting, he was drawn even closer, captivated. "I was worried I would pass out." He whispered honestly. "Your eyes kind of, do that." He wasn't sure he minded sounding stupid, at the moment.
"Your eyes are just as intense. In different ways, but just the same."
"Nuh-uh." Naruto drawled just slightly. Itachi just shifted his fingers on Naruto's face a little, and both of there mouths drew closer together. Naruto dreamed it before, but not even dreams could compare to the real thing.
Sasuke came out of hiding from his place at the foot of the stairs and smirked. He had only been up there perhaps five minutes, tops. The Uchiha had a plan. But was he really this evil? What he was about to do was totally cruel, and yet…no, he was that evil.
He chucked the bottle of homemade make-up, (by homemade, he mixed whatever cosmetics he could find to get Naruto's color, then found an empty bottle,) at the back of Itachi's head. Then fled.
In pain and irritation, Itachi's head followed the movement of the bottle and came quickly forward. Both froze in place when they realized what exactly had just happened.
Teeth had narrowly avoided clanking together, and their lips had been quickly sealed. Naruto's mouth fled in fear for half a second before returning, and Itachi's hands moved behind his head to keep him close. Forgetting how pissed he would soon be at Sasuke, Itachi's tongue slid across the seam the blonde boy's lips formed. A few hesitant moments later, Naruto opened up, face darkening to reds unseen. Neither was too rowdy, and Naruto was mostly confused. His tongue dipped in patterns Itachi couldn't follow for a few moments, then slowly - practice made perfect - their work became a perfect dance.
Unfortunately, Itachi's pride would not allow Sasuke to get away with this. Their kiss lasted a few more seconds - Naruto reveling in the warmth and sheer feelings behind it - before Itachi broke away gently and stood up, the blonde gasping for air. He'd really have to thank both brothers for that later, Sasuke's bottle throwing included.
"Sasuke, I'm giving you two seconds." Naruto picked up the make-up bottle that had ended up on the couch. It looked like his color, but he couldn't be sure. He must have mixed red colored lip gloss into or something. Naruto hoped the mix wouldn't make him break out.
"That was my exact desired result." Sasuke popped back at the other side of the living room, while Itachi seethed at him. The younger brother's smirk seemed to be plastered permanently to his face. "And hey, wait until I'm out of the house before something serious happens."
Itachi ignored him and started to come forward, but Naruto suddenly cried, "What are you holding behind your back?" The younger did indeed have his hands behind him. Itachi paused and gave him a fiery look. He didn't…no, he couldn't possibly have the guts…
"This?" Sasuke confidently pulled a video camera from behind him. A small green light glimmered in the corner of the front of it. That light meant it was recording. No doubt it had seen the entire thing.
Naruto gaped for a few seconds before standing up to join Itachi in a ready stance. Both Uchihas and Uzumaki looked ready to start an all out chase around the house. "Sasuke, put the camera down and no one gets hurt!" But Naruto's voice came out a half nervous, half playful pleading sound.
"And risk Hinata's birthday present? No way." Sasuke smirk grew bigger and he waved the camera a little.
"Let's kill him."
"Agreed." The younger Uchiha fled, camera in hand.
…It didn't matter anymore, what he'd done or what had happened. What mattered, was that Itachi was always there, and cared most about him. Him being sexy was an added bonus, too.
Skipping school that day was inevitable. But for the purpose of not making Iruka any more on edge then he already was, Naruto stayed with the Uchiha's until around four, Mikoto coming home around two. That almost became a problem, but Itachi was quick on thinking of an excuse. School got out early. She was pleased as usual that Naruto was there.
As for the chase, Itachi and Naruto had come out successful, only after cornering Sasuke and threatening him for the tape. Sasuke was put out, but at least he hadn't said anything to Hinata about it, so there were no hopes to burn. He'd have to video tape them some other time…Doing something much more worthy to give…
Naruto walked home, even though Mikoto offered to drive him. He didn't exactly want Iruka to know he was coming. He was still a little shaken from that morning, but mostly fixed up, including the covering of the bites.
The door was unlocked, but when he opened it, Iruka wasn't grading papers like he usually would be at this hour. He wasn't sitting at the table in the front room, either, where he did just about everything. No dinner smells…he usually had something cooking about this time, too, if he wasn't working. Naruto could only he pray he hadn't holed himself up in some kind of depression.
He walked through the house towards the hallway that had his and Iruka's bedrooms, and another room for the computer. He heard the clicking sounds of typing. This wasn't a good sign. It meant he was either sending things to parents - which wasn't likely, since he usually used paper - or he was depressed. He never used the computer without being upset.
Naruto walked in and made his presence noticeable, but Iruka didn't look up. Naruto wished he would have called him, at some point, suddenly. After everything he did for him, Naruto still managed to make him upset. The blonde came up behind his chair and put his arms around his neck, relaxing all of his weight. "Hi, Dad."
"What's the matter, Naruto? You're heavy." Iruka didn't turn his head, and he seemed to still be concentrating. He was probably too afraid to say anything about what had happened, for fear of letting his emotions show.
"Dad, when you love someone, it doesn't matter how old they are, does it?"
Iruka's fingers stopped hitting keys.
"Because…If you aren't labeling anyone as a certain thing, a Dad, or a friend, or a child or crush…If they're all just people you love, it shouldn't matter how old they are. Because most of my friends are my age, some are younger, and you're older. It doesn't really matter how you categorize them, right?"
Iruka turned a little, and the blonde let go of his neck so he could turn his body all the way around. He pulled Naruto in closer for a hug, and murmured, "You think this had to do with age, or a test of how you felt?"
"I don't know." But it sounded more like he was trying to say "Yes." Naruto snuggled himself closer.
"It wouldn't have mattered…whether the person you love is male or female, younger or older, it doesn't matter to me. That's not what scared me, but I know I made it sound that way. I was just upset about it in the moment - didn't know what I was saying." Iruka mussed his hair.
"It just makes a difference to my mentality. No matter what their gender, or age, I'd freak out if anyone was with my baby!" Iruka chuckled and pinched his backside.
"I'm not your baby." Naruto growled, but he couldn't hold back his laughter. "Dad, I think you don't have too worry much anymore."
"Because I think Itachi is afraid of making you mad!" They both laughed.
Iruka squeezed him a little tighter. "All they ever do is seem to care for you, so I know you're in good hands."
"Yeah, really good hands." Naruto smiled and thought of the literality of those words. "Thanks, Dad."
Yay! I'm finally finished! The end of the second to last section and the last section are a little weak, but I was determined to get this finished. I hope you all enjoyed it! I'm not the biggest fan of Neji, either, so that hopefully explains a few things ^^