' "Then why didn't you feel anything? Ino, come here and lend us a boob." Naruto wasn't gay. Just because two of his conspirators decide that he is doesn't mean that his ruler is bent. He just happens to have a very flexible one, that's all. ItaNaru.


Itachi x Naruto


There is SakuNaru, InoNaru and HinaNaru moments to prove a point, a few vulgarities and a small lemon scene towards the end. The quotations are credited and are just some views I thought I'd share.


Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another. ~Homer

Tapping his fingers against the hard, wooden table before him, Naruto sighed languidly, waiting for the moment when he could finally leave the place.

"Now, Naruto, you have to know the virtues of patience. We don't get many peaceful times here and now with Pein out of the way, I think it's high time we allowed ourselves the time to support our local economy. What with rebuilding Konoha and all, we're going to have to rely on the export of the other villages in the Fire Country and so we need to show our support."

Sakura's voice was light hearted and her arm linked with Ino's. The pair was decked out in summer dresses, light, and floaty material in pastel colours that was a far cry from their ninja attire. It made sense; this economy-support came in the form of shopping.

So, here he was; waiting at the outskirts of a changing room while the two women switched outfits every ten seconds, whipping the thick curtains aside and demanding a male opinion. Naruto muttered a few choice words that Tsunade had recommended (after he told her that the voluptuous pair had chosen him as a target) before preparing for the regrettable click of the tongue and shake of the head.

"No, Naruto, that's not right. See, it makes my legs look fat and I can't have that can I? Do you really know nothing about clothes," Ino retorted. And, of course, Sakura had to have her two cents worth;

"Of course he doesn't Ino, he wears orange for god's sake," her voice had dropped to a hiss as if the naming of the colour had been a curse. "Plus," she added, "I don't think they make your legs look fat. You could pull that off if you added some accessories, which reminds me…"

Naruto took that to be his sign of freedom and smiled sheepishly at the women, bolting out of the changing room. Cries of his name followed and maybe, in a different time, different place (namely where the calling of his name in such a way by two women would be orchestrated in a bed) he would have returned but, instead, he rested on the desk by the shop assistant.

"Women?" The man asked gently, face prepared with a wince. Naruto nodded and the assistant patted his shoulder,

"Just be thankful you don't work here."

Naruto chuckled, agreeing with the man, before watching him stalk into the changing room, tape measure in hand and a fake smile plastered onto his face. Naruto felt sympathetic; what man wants to go into the lioness' den willingly? Not a sane one, at least.

It took a further twenty minutes for the girls to decide on what they wanted and then another five to actually buy the damned things. By the time they were done, Naruto had hardened his resolve to never, ever set foot in a department store ever again. It simply wasn't worth the hassle, and he was sure he saw two middle aged ladies ripping clothing to shreds just because they were fighting over it.

If there was one thing that was scarier than taking on all of Akatsuki singlehandedly then it was this; shopping and being the only male in the shop. Well, aside from dejected husbands who were being used as pack mules, but Naruto could see the invisible signs on their heads that proclaimed them to be very much whipped.

"Ah! There you are Naruto!"

The cry drew several of the fellow males out of their self induced sleep and they shuffled the bags they held expectantly, as if knowing what was in store for Naruto. The Uzumaki glanced between the bags his friends were holding and up to their greedy, beady eyes, eyes that were literally shining with glee.

"Oh, Naruto, would you be a dear?"

And from the way it was said, Naruto knew they didn't mean for him to turn into a stag. A low chuckle sounded around him as Naruto realised that the Whipped Men were initiating him into their clan.

Officially, shopping sucked.

If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work: "Hello. Can't work today, still queer." ~Robin Tyler

Every inch of his body hurt; his feet hurt, his arms hurt, his eyes hurt, even his stomach bloody hurt. And, as usual, it was down to shopping. This was the third shopping trip Ino and Sakura had dragged him on and it had not got any better since the first one. Weren't things supposed to get better with time? This certainly didn't live up to the expectations and Naruto was this close to dropping the bags and ranting like a lunatic.

Luckily for him, Ino swooped down, smooching him loudly on the cheek and thanking him for being such a wonderful friend. It was almost worth it for the home time drop off; he would drop Ino and Sakura off at one of their houses for their night of gossiping, bitching and girly film watching.

Naruto held Sakura's bags out expectantly, raising an eyebrow when she, too, kissed Ino on the cheek, thanking her for the day. Sakura ignored the bags and linked her arm in Naruto's leading them away from Ino's flower shop. Ino seemed to understand what was going on and she smiled lightly, waving the pair off.

It should have been Naruto's dream moment; here he was with the girl of his dreams and the sun was setting vividly, splashing oranges, purples and romance in the air. It was a scene worthy of Gai and Lee's attention, though he was glad that they weren't here on his occasion.

"S-Sakura-chan?" Naruto questioned lightly as she linked their hands, pushing the bags back onto Naruto's wrist. Her eyes shone with something unreadable and she turned, stopping their walk and faced him suddenly.

"I've thought about it, Naruto, and I think… I think, maybe…"

Naruto never got to know what Sakura said next, even as he opened his mouth, for something covered his lips and a hand tugged him down. The shopping bags were promptly dropped, sprawling their loads onto the ground as Sakura kissed him at her leisure.

There was nothing the blond could do except stand there, rigidly. This was not how the kiss of his dreams was supposed to be; it was out of sync, messy and just a bit too… wet. It struck him as desperate and he was relieved (well, that was an understatement) when Sakura left her assault with a wet 'chu'.

"Damn," she cursed, looking away from Naruto and wiping the strand of saliva from her bottom lip. Naruto stood, staring at his team member as if she'd grown three extra heads, proclaimed she was in love with Orochimaru and walking around with chicken wings on her back.


Naruto reasoned that that was the only sound he could get out without losing his credibility and so waited for an answer. Sakura's face twisted into a grin and her teeth flashed menacingly, her hand leeching onto Naruto's arm again, scooping up the shopping with her free hand.

"I knew it. I told Ino and now she owes me, big time, but I just knew it. It's obvious, really, I mean… what other sane guy would subject himself to go shopping with us three times in a row? And you seemed to attract the attention of pretty much every store clerk, you know what that means right?" A nudge in his side accompanied the words and Naruto blinked, thoroughly confused.

"Huh?" he repeated, hoping that Sakura would give some sort of explanation. There was none given and he found himself being forced through Ino's front door, Sakura calling out chirpily for a large amount of money.

"No way! It's not fair, Naruto!" Ino's moan brought him out of the slight daze, eyes focusing a bit more. The blonde Kunoichi gave him a thoughtful look before shaking her head.

"I don't believe you, Sakura. Look at him! He's bloody smitten from it."

Sakura was adamant and she shook her head, "Nope, I'm sure." She tapped her temple before whispering conspiratorially in her best friend's ear. Naruto saw the look in the blonde's eye and began to back away, a little too slowly to escape impending doom.


For the second time in what had to be less than ten minutes, Naruto felt his lips being attacked. This time, the kiss was brutal and searing, almost painful, and he almost choked when a tongue was shoved into his mouth. He pushed Ino off, spluttering and red-faced.

"Fuck…" she muttered, chewing the inside of her lip, "Why the hell couldn't you have inherited Tsunade-sama's luck as well as her talent?"

Sakura folded her arms smugly and intoned, "Fork it over blondie. Fair and square, I won."

Naruto was crouched down in a small ball as he watched the money switch hands and blue eyes widened as Sakura held out a hand to him.

"Does it feel better now, Naruto? You know, now that you're out of the closet and all? I knew you had to be gay but Ino didn't believe me. Those two kisses prove it and we're so glad to take you under our wing." She turned to Ino, "We now officially have a gay best friend!"

The word 'gay' filtered into Naruto's mangled brain and he leapt to attention, standing at his full height of five foot nine, eyes drawn into angry slits.

"I'm not gay!" He protested, in an unconvincingly high pitched and whiny voice.

"Then why didn't you feel anything? Ino, come here and lend us a boob."

Naruto's eyes widened and he shrank back, trying to escape the death clutch of doom Sakura had brought upon his hand. Ino pushed her chest forwards, beaming as Naruto's palm enclosed on the flesh. Sakura forced his hand to tighten on the lump yet nothing out of the ordinary occurred.

"Gay," the women muttered to each other, leaving Naruto alone to his thoughts for a moment.

He couldn't be gay, it just wasn't possible. He had been in love with Sakura for god knows how many years and yet… hadn't he just shown that he couldn't perform romantically with the girl he had always sought after? He couldn't even feel anything for Ino, who was a far cry from being unattractive herself. Was it really that he was homosexual or could it simply be they did nothing for him?

That had to be it; Naruto wasn't gay, it was just the fact that they both wanted him to be gay and so that had affected the kiss. If he had kissed either of them under favourable circumstances (where they weren't wishing for his homosexuality) then it would have been fine, and he would be roaming underneath their clothes right now.

Yes, Naruto thought as he gave in to the calls of Ino and Sakura, resigning himself to play along with their ploys for the night, that had to be it… and he would show them. Uzumaki Naruto was as straight as a ruler.

War. Rape. Murder. Poverty. Equal rights for gays. Guess which one the Southern Baptist Convention is protesting? ~The Value of Families

Naruto was back from his pre-emptive holiday and smiled at Tsunade. There were too little smiles nowadays and Naruto felt it was just time to bring them back… plus he'd rather maintain his straight-ness and this meant being chivalrous to every woman in hopes of getting them to kiss him willingly, just to prove that he could.

"Here's the information you requested, Naruto. I'm still not sure what you want with it, exactly, but hopefully you'll be able to make more sense of it than us. You say you were the last person aside from Sasuke to see him?"

Naruto nodded, cradling the documents in his arms as if they were jewels.

"Well then, I hope you can find what we need. It's not about defeating Uchiha Itachi anymore, it's about capturing him for our knowledge. He abandoned them for some unknown reason while leaving Sasuke alive. We don't know what transpired between the brothers in their battle but we need more information. If you can, get him for us. If not… well, those documents needed organisation anyway."

Naruto grinned before leaving, whistling a tune under his breath. It wasn't every day that you were trusted with S-classed secrets yet Naruto wasn't just an average person. The only reason Tsunade had obliged to give him the documents had been because he was the last person (aside from Sasuke) to hear word from Itachi.

Naruto and most of his former class mates had been scouring the forests between Ame, Konoha and the neighbouring countries in hopes of locating Sasuke and destroying any of the Akatsuki that were lingering. After a brief encounter with Tobi, the weird, masked one, Naruto had created hundreds of clones, frustrated searching for any signs of the Uchihas.

Because where ever Itachi was would be where Sasuke was.

And he had found Itachi easily, almost too easily to believe Itachi had been avoiding them. He had wanted Naruto to be alone and he only knew why when the blasted raven had been shoved down his throat.

Still, the after effects of the Raven Incident hadn't been discovered, yet, and Naruto had kept silent about it. For some reason it felt like a personal gift, a last memoir between enemies. If they ever met again, Naruto knew he wouldn't feel the same inclination towards Itachi; he had part of Itachi inside of him now and it would be there to stay, regardless to whether it was 'activated' or not.

The files were for his own personal benefit, mainly. It was true that Itachi had deserted the Akatsuki in favour of vanishing, literally. That had been almost a year ago and it was rumoured that only Tobi – Uchiha Madara – stood in place of the Akatsuki. Pein had been taken down half a year ago and it was only time… time they had been preparing for ruthlessly.

It hadn't been enough, though – when was it?

Konoha and her allies needed the last push, the last dregs of information and power to win. Sasuke was on Madara's side now and Konoha had taken a blow at that. They needed an Uchiha and Naruto believed Itachi to be that very man. Tsunade had protested, at first, until Naruto explained that Itachi had never really hurt him.

So here he was, spread out on his bed with files around him. There were dozens of pictures; profiles of Itachi for his ninja files and relaxed images gleaned from the compound after the Massacre. There was a family portrait and Naruto shuddered at the cold look in the Uchiha Patriarch's eyes, his large hand clamped down on Itachi's shoulder.

The information had been read over and over again until Naruto had pretty much memorised all of it but there was something missing; something felt wrong. It was almost as if the words were too cold, too harsh, to be true. Something was wrong regarding the details of the Uchiha Massacre but, for the love of him, Naruto couldn't put his finger on it.

He flipped open a page and was fronted by a picture of a smiling Itachi. He couldn't be any older than nine yet he looked so carefree, so light and so… beautiful. Naruto had never called a child beautiful before, never called any human beautiful without it being superficial attraction, but this was a handsome boy, one who he knew grew into the stunning Itachi.

Shit. Naruto gulped as he shut the folder, grimacing at the slip of thought. His ruler wasn't supposed to be one of those bendy ones, but even the most rigid of rulers did have a bit of… bounce in them. He was allowed to think guys were good looking if in reason, and he was plenty in reason with Itachi.

Naruto turned on himself,

"You fancy him," he whispered yet hi brain shrank back in denial.

"No I don't. I just… just appreciate his fine breeding."

Naruto's mouth turned down at the corners and the Uzumaki sighed, hoping his internal struggle was over. He was to be disappointed,

"What? He's some sort of animal to you now?"

"N-no… not an animal. Just… wild and unobtainable. Chase-able, really, even more so than Sasuke," he muttered under his breath, packing up the folders and placing images back into their corresponding pockets. "Gorgeous, undoubtedly, powerful, fuck yes, sexy, wouldn't say n-"

Naruto slapped a hand over his mouth before chucking the files under his bed, blushing a beet red all the while.

Oh god no, he was not having those thoughts about Uchiha Itachi of all people?

Apparently his ruler was a very flexi one and Naruto needed to replace it with one of those wooden ones.

Or at least, that's what he told himself as he tucked the Missing-nin file picture under the covers, next to his arm. Yeah, one moment of weakness was fine; every man has to cut his losses now and again. It wasn't as if he was going to meet the man any time soon. And even if he did, he would be sure that he was straight then.

He just needed to find his saviour.

When it comes to exploring the sea of love, I prefer buoys. ~Andrew G. Dehel

His saviour came in the form of one Hyuuga heiress. Since the time she had stood up against Pein, Hinata had been strangely absent from her daily routine of following Naruto around. Naruto had never missed the stalking (he wasn't blind) before now, relishing the freedom really, but he needed her. Right now.

The picture of the AWOL Itachi lay crumpled under his un-made duvet as he had stormed from the house, forsaking his cup ramen in hoped of determining this mystery. He was not attracted to Itachi, he only liked girls. Girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, gir-

Well that was unexpected.

Naruto sat up, rubbing his head where he had collided before his eyes widened at the view. He was currently nose-deep in two rather large, feminine, appendages and he gulped, pulling back from the fabric as he looked deep into Hinata's eyes.

"Uhhh," he chortled uselessly, staying with his body pressed up against hers. He could literally feel the heat radiating from the woman beneath him and she shut her eyes, screwing them up as he hands automatically rose to her chest.

"I'm so, so, so, so, so sorry Hinata-chan!"

Naruto finally came to his senses and sprang off the woman who could well be the new woman of his dreams. Hopefully. He extended his arm, palm out to catch Hinata's and the long haired woman took it slowly, her wrists flushing on contact.

If people could become light bulbs, Naruto was sure Hinata would win first place in a contest for brightest light. It was astonishing, really, how red one person could become.

Hinata turned to leave, mortified with her head half in her hands, when Naruto stopped her, biting his lip as she turned around.

"Uhm… I was just… wondering if you… you'd like to go on a date?" The word date had been squeaked out yet, amazingly, the Hyuuga nodded politely, and the pair swapped details of where they would meet and what time.

Naruto almost felt better, until he saw a flash of pink and purple out of the corner of his eye. Ino and Sakura stood, evidently having watched the last few minutes of the exchange. The shake of the head and curl of the lips into a smirk told Naruto they didn't believe he could do it.

Oh boy, he'd show them.

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another. ~William Shakespeare

Naruto returned home to have a nap and found the folders breaching his neatly made bed.

Which was wrong.

Very, very wrong.

This morning, his bed had been messy, the folders shoved unceremoniously under it. Had someone been in his house? Worse still, had someone looked under his pillow? If it had been Sakura or Ino then that was conclusive evidence he was gay… and had the hots for their Number Two Prime Target – Madara being number one.

Shaking his head and deciding that maybe, just maybe, he had forgotten about making his bed (yet the notion still sat wrong in his stomach), Naruto lay on the bed, tucking the covers in around him and snuggling into his pillows.

The crisp sound of crinkling paper drew his attention and Naruto bolted up, smoothing the creases over Itachi's cheeks tenderly. It was only when he was halfway through the process that he shrieked rather un-manly and dropped the photograph, shoving the cover over his head.

Through his head, almost as if in a dream, a deep, vibrating chuckle sounded. He could have put it up to being the Kyuubi, though he hadn't heard from the fox in months now, yet this laugh was more dangerous, wilder and completely forbidden.

"Straight as a ruler, straight as a ruler," Naruto muttered, scrunching his eyes up and curling into the foetal position.

Let's get one thing straight, I'm not. ~Bumper sticker

The dinner with Hinata, for all expectations, had run quite smoothly. They had talked (mostly a one sided conversation, naturally) and Naruto found that Hinata was actually alright… but, for his plan to work, he needed her to be more than alright.

"Uhm, Hinata-chan, would you like to come back to my house?"

They were walking down the street and Naruto could practically feel the heat of her embarrassment as she glowed at his words. He hastened to correct the error;

"I mean just for a coffee. Nothing else, I don't want to be one of those guys."

The blond smiled sincerely and led Hinata to his apartment, flicking the kettle on and dumping some instant tea bags in two mugs. Hinata hovered by the kitchen doorway, eyes flicking to the folders on Naruto's bed (which was in the same room that the door opened into, otherwise Naruto was sure that Hinata would never have dreamt of even thinking about looking into his bedroom). He could tell she was interested, every self respecting Shinobi would be if they saw the 'S' classing on the files.

"Just a bit of reading. Trying to get us some allies in the dirt, and some of them might not be as tangled as we thought."

Hinata raised a delicate eyebrow at Naruto's words, her face remaining her natural pale colouring. This was business and she was comfortable with business. Take it into her personal life, however and things changed. How could you get off with someone while convincing them that it was merely on a professional basis?

They found themselves next to each other on the sofa fifteen minutes later, Naruto discussing the pros and cons of an alliance with Cloud. Hinata was relaxed and things had been transgressing smoothly and so, when Naruto leant in, he fully expected to get at least a peck on the cheek.

Instead, what did he get? A stifled chuckle. The whole of Hinata's face had flared up again and hair fell into her eyes, but the most important part had been that chuckle.

"W-what?" The Uzumaki questioned instinctively. Hinata looked up, scared that she had hurt Naruto beyond normal yet softened the worry when she saw confusion.

"It's okay, you know. B-Being gay is acceptable n-now. Even N-Neji has come out of the cl-closest, N-Naruto-kun. I think you should t-try to enjoy your life. N-n-not that this hadn't been nice, it's just… I d-don't think you should lie to yourself." Hinata paused, before holding out her hand, "Friends?"

Naruto was stunned. The girl who was supposed to be besotted with him, the girl who was supposed to stalk him on a regular basis was in on the bent-club? This wasn't fair! He was straight with homosexual tendencies. Not the full Monty, just a little dip in the pool.

"But if you knew that I wasn't doing this to… well, you know," even if she didn't fancy him anymore, it still felt wrong to discuss sex with someone as delicate as Hinata, "Then why were you blushing the whole evening?"

Hinata stood, gathering her purse and coat. She was blushing, again, yet, this time, she stooped next to Naruto's ear to share whatever this secret was.

"W-well, Sakura and Ino found a rather… interesting book the other day. I believe it was written in draft form by Jiraiya-sama and now… well… it's gone to publication."

Naruto frowned; what would Jiraiya's books have to do with him and Hinata blushing? The Hyuuga had almost slipped out of the door when she whispered something scandalous;

"Yaoi edition. A blond takes up most of the front page."

As the door shut, Naruto cursed Hinata's sudden ability to get over her stutter; if she had slurred over the words then at least he could have claimed that he had misheard her.

One thing was for sure; between the picture tucked under his head and the idea of a book the almost-useless Ero-Sennin had written, he wasn't going to get any sleep.

So much for the wooden ruler… maybe he'd just go for that flexible one he'd seen in a shop a few weeks ago.

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. ~Benjamin Disraeli

It was three days after Hinata had dropped the bombshell and Naruto stared at the three women in trepidation. A brown parcel was cradled between Sakura's arms and her breasts and a haunting smile loomed over all three of their lips.

Who knew Hinata could be so devious and join the two witches?

"We got you a gift, Naruto, as we thought you deserved it after the long stint of being in your closet."

A round of chuckles accompanied the words.

"Happy reading! Don't forget the tissues, we'd hate for you to explain why you're buying your second copy before it's been published officially."

Naruto scowled at the parcel that was shoved in his arms before glaring at the retreating back of the three witches. A brief moment passed where he contemplated throwing the 'gift' on the floor but then again, he reasoned, he should respect Jiraiya and read every work he had.

After all, the normal Icha Icha had done nothing for him so this shouldn't… right?

If time and space are curved, where do all of the straight people come from? ~Author Unknown

Naruto groaned for the fourteenth time since he had got into bed. It was late, his eyes hurt from reading the whole bloody book in one go and, worst of all, and he had an insistent problem between his legs. Namely because of the bloody book his bloody former sensei had written. And to top the cake; Naruto was the only one who could known how much of the story was based on real events.

All of it. Except for the sex scenes, of course.

And guess who Jiraiya had decided to base the Story-Naruto's (who wasn't called Naruto at all, which was a relief) partner on? Instead of the obvious choice of Sasuke – because, well, he had been chasing him at the time and that did sound gay, even to Naruto's ears – it had been his utterly godly older brother.

Scratch that.. just… just his older brother. Nothing godly or sexy about him. Just…

Naruto groaned again as he shifted his weight, accidentally brushing against his errection. Brilliant; just what he needed in this wonderful epitome of nights. He couldn't get the enemy off his dirty mind and, when he wanted to prove his heterosexuality, the only thing in the past… well… life, that had gotten him hard was a gay novel.

Smutty gay novel.

Smutty gay novel where one of the characters was him.

Smutty gay novel where one of the characters was him and the other was the mysterious and gorgeous Uchiha Itachi.

And of whom he had a picture of under his pillow.

Could the night get any better?

Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law. ~Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, A.D. 524

"Look Naruto, I think it's time you faced the facts. Think of all the people who would be disappointed with your lack of honesty… seriously, how do you expect to be happy when you're constantly lying to yourself, hm?"

Naruto jolted in his chair, looking with unease between Tsunade and Shizune. Why the hell did Konoha have to be run by crazed females who were convinced he was gay?

"There's nothing wrong with being homosexual, Naruto, and I think you should know that many famous Shinobi have been known to indulge in homosexual relationships. Did you know, for example, that I walked in on my two team members one night? Hiruzen-sensei asked me to wake Jiraiya and Orochimaru up so we could move on in secrecy and there they were, going at it like rabbits."

Naruto's face paled at the images; he hadn't known either of the men in their younger days and the words 'relationship' and 'Orochimaru' just didn't add up in any sense.

"Of course this was before the man went mad and deserted, and before Jiraiya rediscovered his love for women… as you undoubtedly know, but it's still there. I'm pretty sure most Shinobi nowadays are at least bisexual, and most of them have slept with their partners. Izumo and Kotetsu – you know the two of them – are best friends but Shizune was asked discreetly about a civil partnership."

Tsunade paused, sipping a mug of coffee before, a miracle in itself as it wasn't even an Irish coffee.

"Everyone thought you and Sasuke had something going on, you know? It was Sakura, actually, who mentioned it first. Keen eye, that one."

It took all of Naruto's strength to not shake his head in disbelief. There wasn't anything wrong in being gay, heck it was obvious that some people were and Naruto was genuinely happy for them, especially as he hadn't been raised (as some people had) with views passed from bigoted parents. It was just that he had always thought he had been in love with Sakura and, after that had been taken away, he was told he had to be gay.

"It doesn't matter if you're confused right now, you take your time to think about this matter. What you decide, in the end, is what we'll all be happy with. I love you, Naruto, as does the whole village, and we only want your happiness. It just seems that we could help you along even if we don't realise how much it's confusing you."

Shizune nodded along with the words, taking the folders gently from Naruto's slackened arms and kissing the crown of his head.

"Just let me know if you need help organising a date; I have files on every Shinobi regarding their date preferences. You need to woo someone; Shizune's the one to go to!"

Naruto looked between the Hokage and her assistant and shivered; something told him that he was walking into a carefully pitted trap.

It wasn't until he got back home that Naruto realised he had left the picture of Itachi under his pillow, and now it was too late to rush back in and explain, now that he had given back the folders. He just prayed that the pair thought he had lost the picture rather than taken it for his own… thoughts…

It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain. ~Francis Maude

Naruto sighed as he looked out of the window. The Book lay under his mattress, hidden by all eyes, and he had chased the thoughts of what he could do with that book out of his head (not because he hadn't masturbated before but because he wouldn't admit defeat to the women-who-were-out-to-get-him in this way) but something felt odd tonight.

The wind blew in the open window and it carried danger on the tendrils of air, a scent that reminded him of sweet spices and dewy forests. Naruto's nose twitched and he shut his eyes, content in allowing his element to rule over him for this brief moment, knowing that the wind would die down in a matter of moments. It always did in Konoha, and Naruto wished that he could take some time to live in Suna as the winds where were so much more unpredictable.

As soon as the wind shifted, dying down, something else moved in Naruto, a pull in his stomach, and he turned round, the hairs on the back of his neck standing to attention. Blue eye widened to impossible lengths as he saw a dark figure seated on his bed, one long leg crossed over the other.

Naruto's nose tingled with the scent from earlier, only now it was mixed with the scent of a real human, the musky, sweaty surface smell that coated almost every person and, underneath that, the warm scent of life, blood and emotions.

Without seeing the face of the person, Naruto could guess who this was. His stomach gave another twinge and he stood, almost dreamily, walking over to sit next to the man.

They remained in silence until a tanned arm brushed the hood of the cloak away from the face of the perpetrator, gasping lightly as his guess was revealed to be correct. His stomach jolted and twisted at the sight of Uchiha Itachi's beautiful, ageless, weary face and a smile sprang to Naruto's lips.

"It was an inevitable meeting, Naruto-kun." The words were spoken in an almost whisper, a low voice that sent shivers up Naruto's spine and surrounding him with a warm glow.

"The parting gift I gave to you seems to have bound us irreparably together… though it wasn't meant to be that way."

Naruto's eyes widened as he realised Itachi would be explaining the 'gift' he gave in detail, and this excited Naruto as much as the bouts of breeze in Konoha did.

"It was supposed to transfer my remaining powers to you when I died. Something went wrong at our confrontation, the one between Sasuke and I," Naruto was surprised that Sasuke's name no longer affected him; normally the bond between them would rise up and Naruto would feel guilt that he hadn't brought his 'brother' back.

"And, well… Sasuke spared me. He remembered something, and forgive me for not being able to tell you exactly what it was, and he walked away. Somewhere along the line he met with Madara who exposed the full truth. I haven't seen him since that battle, especially as I have more pressing issues on my mind."

The moonlight threw unnatural shadows on Itachi's face as he shifted, legs rising up onto the mattress as he faced Naruto, tucking his knees under him and taking Naruto's hands. Naruto blushed from the contact, glad he had turned out the lights earlier.

"With my life still intact, the connection I forced upon that was supposed to draw my power to you has mutated, claiming an emotion in compensation. I am everything you will ever need, Naruto-kun, and you are everything I will ever need."

Naruto started; Itachi was all he'd ever need?

"Which is why," something was pressed into Naruto's hand, something cool and metallic. "You need to be the one to do this. It's the only way you can get out of the bond without it destroying you. It's what we both need, Naruto-kun."

Naruto felt his hand being raised by a pale, cold one to Itachi's neck and he saw the glimmer of moonlight bounce off of the kunai and fear overtook him, his arm locking in place against pale skin. Itachi's other hand took Naruto's free arm, guiding his fingers to the back of his neck to hold the elder's head in place. Instead of brushing against cold skin, however, Naruto's fingers touched a warm liquid as they trailed over skin.

Suddenly, Naruto snapped out of the fear, tearing the kunai from his grasp and hearing it skitter across the floor in muted satisfaction. He could see the confusion and fear, so much fear, in Itachi's eyes as the moonlight touched them and he couldn't help himself; he tightened his fingers around Itachi's neck and pushed his head into the juncture between the Uchiha's neck and shoulders, not even caring that tears were now happily flowing from his cheeks onto Itachi.

He could feel Itachi stiffly resisting whatever their bond was before the man gave in, wrapping his arms tightly around the younger and burying his face into Naruto's hair, trembling with the decision and emotions.

"Never ask me to do that ever again," Naruto mumbled into Itachi's skin and the Uchiha nodded his head in agreement.

"I never thought… I thought that I had forced it onto you and that, given a choice, you would rather be free of a burden than…"

Itachi trailed off as Naruto removed his head, cheeks trailing with silver, moon-streaked tears.

"I've kept your picture under my pillow for literally weeks now and if you dare say that that was forced upon me then… then…"

Itachi's features softened, the fear moulding into affection and - dare he say it? - love, the weariness of the past years finally showing in his eyes and the creases that made him Itachi. Naruto watched as Itachi showed he understood why Naruto could think of no threat by whispering in his ear, something Naruto had never realised he had been missing before,

"I suppose we're in this together then."

That night, Naruto lay next to Itachi in his single-man sized bed, their bodies pressed together and their hands interlocked between their hearts, the steady rhythm of each other's life and the warmth between them amplifying their bond while they slept.

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains. ~Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947

Naruto's eyes opened slowly the next morning, his whole body tingling in warmth. The window was open but it was just sunshine that poured inside, and he turned to the place his bed partner was to find the space empty.

Had it been a dream? It was certainly late enough and Naruto felt part of him dampen, something inside crushing down painfully. With his eyes closed, Naruto let his head flop back into the pillow, the pillow that smelt wholeheartedly of Itachi.

Naruto sprang back up, eyes alight as he couldn't, even in his wildest dreams, imagine Itachi's scent. He turned his head to the kitchen to see amused, sparkling eyes looking at him. Naruto smiled as the Uchiha walked over to the bed, placing the tray he had compiled on the desk next to Naruto's bed, and kissed him on the temple.

"I woke up a little while ago and I thought that it wasn't worth leaving Konoha in broad daylight. I hope you don't mind me using your facilities for breakfast."

Shaking his head, Naruto shifted his weight so that Itachi could sit behind him, leaning against the firm chest of Itachi as he, in turn, leant against the bedpost and wall. Naruto pulled the breakfast tray onto his lap, passing Itachi one of the croissants and revelling in the silence of their new bond.

"So," Itachi began, after he had finished the pastry and taken one of the coffee mugs, "Why exactly did you have a photograph of me stored under your pillow?"

The photograph in question fluttered onto the tray as Itachi released it from his fingers and Naruto flushed crimson.

"Well… I was researching you for the purpose of recruiting you back for Konoha – hey, don't look at me like that, it's the truth." Naruto had craned his head upwards so he could maintain eye contact with Itachi and could see the dubious look in his eyes.

"We need you, really." At a pointed stare, Naruto continued, muttering in embarrassment. "Well, and I wanted to see if there was any hint at what you had done with that little raven trick. And then," he continued, not being able to stop, "Well, I became hooked, really. I just liked the photograph… nice, uh, lighting…"

The tray was shifted back onto the table and the mug of coffee that had been clutched in Naruto's hands was set aside carefully, Naruto's question dying on his lips as Itachi kissed him.

Euphoric bliss tingled from Naruto's lips as Itachi pressed against him, twisting Naruto's body round without breaking the connection. They faced each other now, Naruto's hands somehow twining themselves around the Uchiha's neck, pulling the contact closer together. They shifted positions, deepening the kiss further when a knock on the door caused Itachi to growl deeply in his throat before shooting off to the bathroom.

Naruto watched in confusion before the door handle rattled and he cursed as Sakura and Ino barged in, tapping their feet expectantly.

"Well?" Ino announced, eyes raking over Naruto's unmade bed and haggard appearance, obviously coming to the conclusion he'd overslept.

"You were supposed to meet us two hours ago Naruto! It's shopping day, or did you forget, again?"

Naruto shuddered and realised why Itachi had bolted so suddenly. He told them to wait a moment as he scampered into the bathroom, clothes in hand and a promise he'd be out in a minute. Itachi sat on the toilet, eyes full of mirth and Naruto had no doubt that he'd heard the exchange easily.

The Uchiha rose as Naruto became tangled in his top, pulling the material over the blond hair and kissing him beautifully as soon as his lips were clear of the material. Naruto was in half a mind to call their shopping trip off until a shrill voice warned him that they would come in if he made them wait any more, and so he bid a passionate farewell to his Uchiha, telling him that he could make himself at home.

As he exited his apartment, the shopping trip didn't seem so bad anymore, not now that he'd have his very own Itachi to come home to.

There's this illusion that homosexuals have sex and heterosexuals fall in love. That's completely untrue. Everybody wants to be loved. ~Boy George

It was a week since Itachi had showed up at Naruto's house, claiming that Naruto had to be the one to kill him, and a week since Itachi had unofficially moved in. For all Naruto would have thought, the Uchiha wasn't one to become stir-crazy or annoyed at the self-imposed captivity, choosing to spend the day wandering around Naruto's apartment instead, reading the books that lined his shelf and watching the world from the window Naruto was so fond of.

"I'll speak to Tsunade," Naruto said tenderly one evening. They sat together on the windowsill, Naruto leaning against Itachi's chest and their legs dangling partially over the window ledge.


Naruto breathed in deeply, hating that he would end the secrecy between them and the world, but also excited that they would be able to be free of this secrecy.

"I'll ask her if we can reveal you intentions. I told you before that she wanted you on our side, everyone knows that moral is lacking and we need a bigger push on our side. I hate to see you cooped up here and I swear the Witches are trying to get me to date every guy within a five mile radius."

Naruto scowled at this afternoon's memory; Ino, Sakura and him had been on a mission and, just as they were exiting from their debriefing, Ino had led him over to a 'friend of hers' who was considerably flirty, before ditching the two of them and leaving Naruto to his own devices. It had been half an hour before Naruto had confused the man and given him the slip, bolting straight back to Itachi and wrapping his arms around the Uchiha the moment he had spotted him.

"People won't accept me for who I am, Naruto, and they will hate you for it."

Naruto shook his head, "Something's wrong in all of that. I know you, Itachi, the bond grows stronger every day and I can feel everything you do. You love Konoha and you would do anything to protect her. I'll find out the truth either way so there's no point in pretending."

Leaving the windowsill behind, Naruto made his way to the kitchen, head tucked low. He was shocked when he was pushed against the wall, air forced out of his lungs and the glass he had been holding shattered upon impact with the floor.

Naruto looked into crimson eyes, the Sharingan prominent now as Itachi pinned him against the wall, mouth lowering to Naruto's ear. It was then that the blond realised he had forgotten how dangerous Itachi could be.

"I need you to know this first," the deep voice caused the hairs on Naruto's neck to raise up, "I love you, Uzumaki Naruto. Reserve your judgement of me until I'm done."

If possible, Naruto was pushed even further into the wall and an arm rested against the structure as Itachi pressed against him fully.

"The Uchiha clan plotted to overthrow Konoha. There's a back story behind it but I won't bore you with the technicalities." Naruto's breathing shuddered as Itachi placed a trail of butterfly kissed to his neck, skimming gently over his collar bone.

"My father planned for me to spy for the clan in ANBU, it's the sole purpose I was trained for." A dry chuckled escaped Itachi's throat and Naruto raised a hand to clutch at the fabric on the Uchiha's shoulder as he continued his assault of kisses.

"What he didn't know, however," Itachi's arm slid from the wall and down to rest on Naruto's hip, sliding under his t-shirt gently, tracing the lines of muscles with his fingers, "was that I had already picked my side. I was a double agent against my clan, feeding Konoha information."

Itachi pulled back, looking into Naruto's eyes before lowering his lips onto his lover's, relishing upon the contact and pulling back only when it seemed they needed air more than anything. His hands were firmly under the t-shirt, fingers curling softly over sensitive skin on the abdomen, where the seal lay hidden, and over nipples, firmly intent on making Naruto remember the conversation.

Naruto allowed his hands to slip behind Itachi's back, pulling him closer and asking for more contact. Itachi chuckled before reprimanding him lightly,

"I'm not finished yet, Naruto… Sandaime-sama asked me to execute the clan after the council decided it was the best plan of action. They were beyond reasoning, we'd tried everything…" Itachi suddenly gripped Naruto tightly, pulling him as close as was possible and the blond felt his whole body electrify, become alive with emotion, want and need, lust and love and desire, all at this one touch.

"So I did it. I killed everyone except Sasuke… my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the person I had taken as a lover even… just not my brother."

Itachi pulled back and went to stand by the window, leaving Naruto breathless and staring after him.

"You must think I'm a monster, and I don't blame you."

Instead of turning him away, as Itachi seemed to expect, Naruto padded along the floor, bare feet making tapping sounds on the wood and signalling his approach upon the Uchiha. Without a single word, Naruto forced Itachi round to face him, lowering his head a little to get better access for a kiss. It wasn't a long kiss, just a sweet reminder of who they were.

"If you are to be thought of as a monster then the sin lies between us. I have walked with monsters at my heels for most of my life and you," he paused to brush a kiss, "are nothing of the sort."

Itachi seemed to crumble into Naruto's arms, the weight of his actions lifted and the kisses from Naruto soothing the pains.

"I love you, Uchiha Itachi," Naruto spoke softly, reminiscent of what Itachi had said earlier, "And I don't plan to give you up."

It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. ~Lucille Ball

Tsunade was waiting the following day, a file complete on her desk as she sipped her tea.

"Well," she began, raising an eyebrow to Naruto as he squirmed under the scrutiny, "Have you finished with the photo yet or do you want to consult someone to get a copy of it?"

Naruto swallowed thickly, the only word coming to mind being 'er'.

"No need, just hand it over."

Naruto obliged, averting his eyes as he passed the Missing-nin photograph of Itachi to Tsunade. She nodded curtly, thanking him, and tucked the photograph in the folder before her.

"I wanted to know if you… if you still wanted an alliance with him."

The Hokage set her china cup down and folded her hands together, showing Naruto she was intent on hearing him out.

"Yes, Naruto. It would benefit Konoha greatly." Her voice was businesslike and Naruto wasn't sure if this agreement was a good thing or not. When the blond remained silent, Tsunade picked her tea up again, a devilish smirk arising on her face.

"You know, ever since Sakura came into the office blabbering on about how she thought Ino and her had walked in on you having breakfast with your new love interest, I started to wonder. I looked through the files yesterday for organisation and something to take my mind off of your love life and what do I find? A missing photograph of Uchiha Itachi."

Naruto promptly choked on his spit, reddening slightly as he looked at Tsunade.

"You've never been the most opaque of people, and it's clear to those nearest and dearest that you've met someone recently… do, pray tell, how you managed to bag one of the most dangerous and gorgeous men in the whole of the Shinobi Nations? Don't look at me like that – I can appreciate the beauty of men without falling tits over arse for them. And don't do that; I've said worse things in my time."

Naruto blinked, a little startled by the exchange, and Tsunade smiled.

"I'm happy for you, kid. Just bring your Uchiha into office tomorrow and I'm sure we'll work something out. People won't trust him but it's a start."

Naruto nodded, thankful for the chance Tsunade had offered them.

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

The morning had passed quickly and Naruto's hand slid out of Itachi's hold as they walked into Tsunade's office. It hadn't been intentional (though they had agreed to keep their relationship on a need-to-know basis until Itachi was fully comfortable being back in Konoha, but the sweat coating his palms had made it possible.

As the door swung shut behind them, Naruto could feel the stared directed at them. He supposed that they did make an odd couple but a creeping, niggling feeling overtook him, making him wonder what the hell he had missed.

"Oh, my, god…"

"It's like-"

"No, I never thought…"

"Well fuck me!"

The last of the exchanges came from Ino and Naruto span to face her with an exasperated, "What!?"

The women in the room tittered, as well as a couple of the men, and Naruto saw a book being passed to the Hokage, as she had demanded. Naruto's stomach fell to the floor when he realised the back cover and saw Tsunade peering first at the images on the front and then at the two people before him.

"You're right… it's them."

Itachi looked to Naruto in confusion but the Uzumaki shook his head gently, tight-lipped and his jaw jutted out. This could not be happening.

"Looks like we know where Jiraiya-sama got his inspiration from now… do you think that means the whole book is true!?"

The gleam in Ino's eye as she caught the words of Sakura (and they had to be rehearsed, the two women were just loving this) and she opened her mouth.

"Well, Naruto did go on that long training trip with Jiraiya-sama… I'd wager that the whole thing actually happened."

Promptly, Naruto and Itachi found themselves bolting out of the Hokage's office and running back to Naruto's house as quickly as possible. If there was one thing that was scarier than the Akatsuki and shopping with women, it was crazed yaoi-fan girls who had their dream come true presented on a platter before them.

If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag. ~Author Unknown

The following weeks passed in a blur; from the moment Itachi finally testified against the Uchiha Massacre, telling Tsunade that he couldn't hide past deeds forever and that Sasuke was old enough to tend to his own garden, to the moment when Naruto had passed him the book he had been inquiring about for hours on end.

Itachi had read the book in one go, Sharingan flashing at what Naruto knew were the sex scenes and, every night, he expected Itachi to employ whatever plan he had been thinking with the knowledge – yet he never did.

So, Naruto being Naruto, decided that, tonight, he would take the initiative. The bond between them was snapping at him, calling for a true bond to be forged and Naruto would use all of the courage he could from that raven to instigate the night.

Naruto was sitting up as Itachi took the plates out to the kitchen, dumping them on the side to be washed later, at Naruto's insistent. The Uchiha returned, a baffled look on his face, yet seemed to understand when Naruto rose upwards, meeting lip-to-lip.

"You don't have to," Itachi said gently as they pulled away.

"I want to," Naruto replied and leant back in for another kiss, hands sliding down Itachi's side and resting at his hips. He was surprised when Itachi pushed them back gently, until Naruto was lying on the bed, and his hands began to drift over tanned skin, skimming over the little dents and bumps in Naruto's body.

Gently, in an exploration of their relationship and of themselves, their clothes found their way onto the floor, carpeting the wood in splashed of orange and black. A grin sprung to Naruto's lips as Itachi mapped the curve of his neck with a tongue, back arching as teeth grazed over one nipple.

Naruto could feel his hands pressed against Itachi's warm skin, tracing the lines where battles had caused injury and training had caused muscled, and couldn't help but think that this was the most wonderful moment in his life.

The Bond pulled and the two of them gasped, pressing against each other further in their need. Touches weren't enough; even for a brief moment they needed to be one.

As Itachi kissed him, Naruto hardly felt the cool finger positioned at the tight rind of muscle yet he winced as it smoothed entry inside of him. Blue eyes looked up into guarded dark ones in question and Itachi kissed his forehead gently,

"Trust me, it'll be more comfortable this way."

Naruto chuckled half-heartedly, shifting his weight in the mattress as he felt another appendage enter him, stretching muscles that he never thought he had.

"I know that, I was just wondering when the hell you had time to, ah, find the lube."

Itachi paused in his ministrations to stare Naruto in the eye, "You're serious, aren't you?"

Naruto nodded, sliding down the bed a little to press Itachi's fingers a little deeper, reminding the Uchiha of his task. Itachi shook his head once, dark hair falling over his shoulder, as he continued his exploration, gently probing a little deeper and angling his fingers so that he-

"Ah, I-tachi!"

-found Naruto's prostate.

Removing his fingers gently, and kissing the blond beneath him gently, causing said blond to smile gently up in return, Itachi moved his body down a little, their errections brushing gently and earning a hiss from both of them.

A shudder caused through Itachi as Naruto asked for him to hurry up, and he was compliant, easing into Naruto gently and waiting until Naruto's face smoothed a little that it had and his abdomen relaxed. Kisses complimented the action and Itachi smiled as he saw Naruto's flushed cheeks.

"I love you, Naruto."

Naruto's chuckle of appreciation was cut short as Itachi moved his legs upwards a little, sliding himself out and back in of Naruto, an impish smirk on his face. A deep moan found its way from Naruto's throat and a hand wound its way to the back of Itachi's throat, pulling him down into a rough kiss.

Their teeth knocked together and Naruto moaned again, this time the vibrations causing down into Itachi and reminding him of Naruto's somewhat abandoned arousal. With a puff of air, Itachi moved one of his hands downwards, tightening gently on Naruto's cock and running fingertips along the length. Naruto shivered at the contact, muscles in his legs twitching at the pleasure and it wasn't long before he came, pulling Itachi into the euphoria with him, the echoes of both their name filling the silence.

Naruto's eyes were closed for a long time afterwards as Itachi traced meaningless shapes on the inside of his wrist. Something occurred to him then and blue eyes snapped open, startling Itachi.

"We're moving tomorrow."

Itachi frowned unexpectedly and Naruto explained,

"Sakura and Ino. They know where I live. What if they put cameras in here for their little weird club thing? You know how annoying it is to go food shopping anyway but what if they video us having sex one time? Do you know how embarrassing the entourage would be then?"

Itachi muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'so sex with me is embarrassing' and Naruto chuckled softly, kissing Itachi on the cheek.

"I'm the only one who's allowed to see you so unguarded. Why should I share something that is wholeheartedly mine? I'm not jealous by nature but, well, love changes a lot of things."

Itachi shook his head, rolling his eyes, yet they both knew that it had been what he wanted to hear.

Naruto rolled over in the small bed, slipping from the covers to get a glass of water, before he saw the gift Itachi had gotten for him a few days ago.

Good old flexi-rulers.

I am the love that dare not speak its name.
Lord Alfred Douglas
From poem Two Loves


Well, just a little one shot there, something I've been working on for a short while. I hoped you liked it, any comments are always welcome.

Please visit my profile for details on an Itachi x Naruto competition that some authors on are running. Any input from you - as readers, nominators, voters etc - is greatly appreciated because ItaNaru is an underdog. Let's show everyone how great this pairing really is!