Poker Face

Authors: Ladelle & Ahja Reyn

Rating: M

Comments: OMG a collab, right? Super exciting. I love writing with Reyn; we make an awesome team. Go read her stuff, too. She's incredibly talented and her stuff is hilarious.

Summary & Backstory: This basically started with a text RP between Reyn and I (http : // jotsalot . livejournal . com / 12383 . html # cutid 1 ) (just take out the spaces) where Naruto saw a psychic that told him he was soon to meet a blonde that would change his life. He told Sasuke and poor Sasuke got bitter, because unknown to Naruto, Sasuke is gay. And unknown to Sasuke, Naruto doesn't KNOW he's gay. And not just gay, gay for his best friend...who just so happens to be Naruto.

This whole Pandora's Box falls open when Sasuke slips up and confesses that he doesn't go on more than one date with someone because he already wants ONLY Naruto, and thus Naruto, being the amazing friend that he is, offers to try out casual dating, claiming, 'hey, i could be gay, I've just never tried it!'.

Thus begins this short story.

I really love this one.

Poker Face

Part 1

Returning from the bar with two beers in hand, Naruto sighed as he found Sasuke right where he left him, arms folded around his cue stick and glaring at the pool table as if it had done him a personal wrong with the way the balls were positioned.

The entire night that scowl had remained solidly on Sasuke's face and Naruto had to fight to get two words out in his attempts at conversation. It was as if their entire friendship had taken a giant step backwards and they were back in middle school when Naruto had first started pursuing Sasuke.

Sasuke hadn't talked much to him back then either.

But luckily Naruto had grown used to such a silent treatment and knew how to keep it from growing awkward. Unfortunately, this was supposed to be a date and silences weren't comfortable no matter what.

This was why Naruto had decided to turn to alcohol. Sasuke had always been a bit of a lightweight, so hopefully after a drink or two he would remember how to have fun again.

"If you can't make any shots, just aim to hit a ball and move things around or something," Naruto advised as he passed one of the bottles over.

"I know how to play," Sasuke responded coolly, but he didn't move from his position, spare the very slight extending of his arm to accept the bubbling Corona from Naruto's hand.

His attention was focused on every solid ball left on the table, and how inexplicably surrounded by striped balls they had become. Naruto's advice was on target, but Sasuke hated feeling out of control. And now, amidst a date he already felt sour about, he felt nervous even thinking about how to win the game they had started.

His only consolation was that the sooner someone won, the sooner they could leave, and the sooner they could both agree this had been a bad idea to begin with. Drinking down a few gulps of the bitter beer, he set it down and lowered himself, lining his cue in order to break up a cluster of balls at the far end of the table.

As luck would have it, a striped ball was pocketed.

"That was a pretty cool shot," Naruto admitted, motioning to the hole that the ball had just gone into before taking a swig of his beer and setting it down on the small table nearby.

Eyeing the large pool table for a moment, he walked around to the other side to line up a shot. "When was the last time you played pool?" he asked casually, figuring he had exhausted the topic of everything that had gone on in his recent life since the last time they had seen each other.

Sasuke snorted. "Too long ago, apparently," he answered. He watched as Naruto shot another striped ball into a mid-pocket, and followed the blond as he maneuvered to another place beside the table. "And the shot would have been cooler if it had been my ball."

He brought the Corona bottle to his lips and downed a bit more, liking the miniature instant rush it gave him. It was gone almost as quickly as it had come, however, and only the sour aftertaste of the alcohol lingered in his mouth.

When Naruto gave him a somewhat discerning look, Sasuke gave in and attempted quick conversation. "What about you?"

A shoulder was raised and dropped as Naruto's stick drew back for a shot. "A few weeks, I guess. I came here with a few classmates from Biology."

Sasuke spotted an ample opportunity to score a ball as the table became rearranged, and so he simply nodded, holding his tongue in asking who Naruto had been with. It wasn't any of his business anyway; he knew that the events of the day had just left him feeling bitter and insecure.

"You should have been studying," he said instead, silently pleased when his cue executed a perfect shot.

"I did study! We played the game so that you had to answer a biology question before you could take a shot, and in the end whoever had the most shots won," Naruto explained as he went to take another drink from his beer, glad that Sasuke was finally loosening up a bit. At the stare he received, he felt the need to elaborate. "The group was a bit on the closeted nerdy side."

"You don't have to convince me," Sasuke moved to arrange himself against the table to shoot again. After all, anyone who could mix biology with pool had to be a tad...eccentric. He thrust the cue forward and broke up another cluster of balls, barely missing a pocket with one of his own.

Rather than moving to take his shot, Naruto remained where he was, watching Sasuke. "You want to play something like that now?" At the look he was given, he quickly went on to explain. "Not a studying game, but like a game of Truth where you have to answer a question before taking a shot."

Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "What kind of truths?"

Naruto shrugged, reaching behind to grab his beer. "Any kind. If you don't want to answer the question you just forfeit your turn."

Sasuke, while watching Naruto's fingers encircle his beer, remembered that he had one himself. He lifted it to his lips and finished off the rest, liking how that pleasant feeling stuck with him a little longer.

After setting the bottle down, he looked up to Naruto. "Another beer and I'll play," he agreed. A small voice in the back of his head, the one not made tipsy, urged him to retract his agreement. Ignoring it, he turned his attention back up to Naruto.

"It's your turn."

Naruto grinned and set the beer aside to bend over and take his shot, ending the game as if it were nothing. Gathering up Sasuke's empty bottle and quickly finishing off his own, he pointed at Sasuke with the departing instructions to reset up the table as he headed back to the bar to get rid of the empty bottles and order some more.

Watching as Naruto disappeared into a small crowd that had formed at the bar, Sasuke obeyed and re-triangulated the balls. He lined them up perfectly center and stood back, faking admiration of his work. Instead his mind was on Naruto and how anxious he was still feeling. The alcohol was still helping, and he was desperate to make it through this night.

A beer bottle waved before him snapped him away from his inner thoughts and he took it, eagerly drinking a couple large gulps. It was beginning to taste sweeter, and Naruto actually looked the happiest he had the entire evening,

Taking the cue ball, Naruto set it down on the other end of the table. "Loser breaks," he ordered, stepping back and crossing his arms. " long have you been gay?" he asked, starting the game right away.

Sasuke laughed, but it was the type of laugh that was made to sound defensive, and almost intruded on. He raised an eyebrow at Naruto. "Since I was born."

He broke the set with a powerful shot, and unfortunately, none of the balls drifted towards any pockets. He glanced up at Naruto. "How do you feel knowing that I'm gay?"

Naruto scratched the back of his head as he evaluated the layout of the table. "Eh. To be honest, I'm wondering how I missed it." He rounded the table having chosen his shot. "I mean, you never check girls out, you never dated back in high school..." Stick struck ball and the harsh sound of balls clacking was followed by the pattering of a solid ball falling into a pocket. "...And you're pretty."

Straightening, Naruto went to grab his beer. "Ask me another, it's still my turn."

"Stop calling me that." Sasuke took another drink from the bottle in his hand and cleared his throat. Deciding that Naruto was just trying to bug him, he let out a deep breath. "Do you think less of me because I date around?"

Naruto pursed his lips. While he didn't think less of Sasuke for such a thing, he had decided he certainly didn't like his reasons for doing so in the first place.

"No," he answered shortly before taking his shot and missing.

"Does your family know you're gay?" Naruto asked as he stepped back, getting out of the way so Sasuke could take his turn.

Feeling a little caught off guard by the question, Sasuke couldn't quite get himself lined up properly. "Um, my brother does," he admitted. "So I guess yes." Taking a deep breath he pushed his cue forward, landing a shot. He looked up at Naruto, feeling harrowed for the next question he would ask.

Squinting a bit, Naruto asked, "Why are you so nervous?"

Sasuke was prepared to hit another ball when the question completely sent the anxiety back to his nerves, making him jerk his hand to the side and hit a ball that wasn't even the white one. "I-I'm not," he managed, unable to look Naruto in the eye.

Naruto raised a silent brow at the completely messed up shot and remained where he was, waiting for Sasuke to ask his question.

"I'm not asking these to make you nervous," he explained gently as Sasuke straightened and reached for his beer. "I'm really curious. It's a whole different side of you I don't know yet."

"Why do you want to know this side of me so much?" Sasuke asked, the defensive note having returned to his voice. He stood up straight and finished off the last of his beer, all before looking back towards the bar, and then to Naruto. "Are you running a tab?"

"Because you're my best friend, and yes," Naruto answered with a smirk, moving forward to take his shot and allowing Sasuke to get himself another drink. He sunk the next ball with ease and patiently waited for Sasuke to return with his next question.

Sasuke stared at the table before turning back towards the bar.

"I'll pay you back," he said shortly before walking towards it. Something was telling him that he was going to need something stronger to pull through this interrogation he had agreed to. He ordered a long island, waited for it to be placed in front of him, and drifted back to Naruto after taking a long sip.

"What makes you think you could be gay?" he asked with a bit of finality.

The question caused Naruto to chuckle. "Why couldn't I be gay? They say no one is 100% straight in the first place, you know."

"You've never even thought of me that way," Sasuke interrupted the question format of their game. "You've never thought of *any* guy that way."

"Well, you have to admit, boobs are pretty distracting," Naruto defended as he went to take his shot and missed. "Why are you so against the idea of me being gay?"

Sasuke hadn't realized he had been downing a good majority of his drink via straw until he tried to talk. He felt hot. "Why are you suddenly attracted to me?" he countered, leaning down against the table after setting down his drink. He glanced up to Naruto in wait for an answer, knowing he looked devious, even with his always-serious expression.

Naruto's lips quirked down a bit, not quite sure he found Sasuke attractive in that way just yet, but decided to play along regardless. "Because you're pretty."

Frowning, Sasuke aimed and got a ball into a corner pocket. He stood upright and looked at Naruto, waiting for his next question.

"So...when did you first start liking me?" Naruto asked, taking another sip of his beer and resting back on the tall stool behind him.

"Hmm," Sasuke said, more to himself than Naruto. He leaned down and ran his fingers over the length of his cue, more because he was beginning to see double, than to create an innuendo. The latter seemed to be recognized though, because he felt Naruto's eyes on him and the movement.

He struck, but the white ball curved too much and didn't hit the ball he had intended. He stood up and leaned back against the table, looking calm and casual, and not at all concerned about losing.

"That time, in high school, around the time we first met," he remembered. "You got into that fight and I helped you in the nurse's office..."

Sasuke was quiet for a minute. "You stood up for your friends. I really liked you that day."

Naruto blinked, a bit surprised by the answer. "But you called me an idiot that day and told me off for not keeping my mouth shut against people who I obviously didn't stand a chance that day!" he complained, standing up and approaching the table.

Sasuke smirked a little and finished off his long island. "You were an idiot," Sasuke said. "You are," he corrected. "But even that doesn't stop it..."

"Stop what?" Naruto asked curiously, looking over the table to see if he had any easy shots.

"This," Sasuke answered, as if that explained everything. He attempted to move out of Naruto's way so he could take his turn, but the room split in two and he sank back against the pool table.

"...the only person who makes me feel this way..." he said, and his hand went to his head as she scrunched his eyes closed, hoping that when he opened them again he wouldn't feel as dizzy.

Gaze snapping towards Sasuke, Naruto set his pool stick down and rushed to his side. "Hey, you okay?" he asked softly, gently tugging at Sasuke's arm to get him to move his hand so that he could look at him properly.

Sasuke let Naruto move his hand but he didn't open his eyes. He was already beginning to feel the after effects of his poor lightweight body's reaction to too much alcohol.

"Mm," was what he managed, though he liked the feel of Naruto's cool fingers against his flushed cheeks.

"Maybe we should lay off the alcohol for a bit," Naruto belatedly suggested. "You still feel okay enough to keep playing? Or do you want to just call it a night?"

"I'm fine," Sasuke said a bit coldly, his pride coming forth from nowhere. His expression softened when his eyes opened and met Naruto's, and on this rare occasion, he smiled.

"Don't worry about me so much," his voice was almost playful. He brought his hand up to Naruto's and closed his fingers around the blond's, all before moving their intertwined hands to his chest.

"If you look at me that way, I may try harder to make you fall for me," he propositioned, and he lightly pushed Naruto away from him so that he could slide to the side, giving Naruto his shot.

Naruto's heart thudded a bit at the sight of Sasuke's anti-social smile. "I doubt you'd have to try that hard in the first place," Naruto teased, moving back to where his cue was. "Your turn to ask me a question."

Sasuke didn't watch Naruto shoot, but he did ask a question he had been wondering for years but had never found the motivation to ask. "Why do you like me so much?"

He had never understood why Naruto had worked so hard for their friendship or been as persistent as he was. Especially when Sasuke had never really felt like he was a good friend to anyone, even Naruto who meant a lot more to him than he was willing to admit.

Naruto took his shot, sinking not only the ball, but the cue ball as well. Straightening, he went to retrieve the ball for Sasuke as he pondered over his answer.

"Because you hate everything," he responded simply, placing the white ball on the proper end of the table and stepping back.

Sasuke's face scrunched in confusion. "That doesn't make sense." Instead of turning towards the table, he simply kept his eyes glued on Naruto. "I don't hate you."

"And that's why I like you," Naruto explained with his trademark overly bright grin. "At first it was like a challenge, to find out what you liked, if we had anything in common, stuff like that. Plus you sometimes looked pretty lonely when you were watching the other students hang out and stuff, and I know what its like to be lonely, so I made it my life's mission to make you smile."

Naruto chuckled a bit as he reminisced. "My original promise to myself was that the day you smiled would be the day we would officially be friends." The chuckled died down into a pout. "It kind of sucks that that day turned out to be the day you found me right after your fangirls had beat me up for the first time."

"Hm," Sasuke said, and he spun around and dropped his cue flat against the green of the table. His vision was still blurred and so he knew his efforts were a lost cause, but he narrowed his eyes and aimed, and managed to hit a ball--one of Naruto's, into a side pocket.

"I shouldn't be allowed to play this game," he concluded, and then he frowned. "Was it your turn to ask me something?"

"It was, but watching your less than sober attempts at playing pool kind of makes up for it," Naruto said lightheartedly. "You can just ask me something again."

Naruto moved to take aim and patiently waited for his next question.

"Do I..." Sasuke rested against the pool table again, eyeing Naruto's remaining bit of beer. Even knowing he was past his limit, it looked delicious. "...make you nervous?" he asked, wondering if Naruto would mind if he finished it off.

Naruto quirked a brow and sent Sasuke an odd glance before taking his shot and missing. "Why would you make me nervous?" he asked, pulling his beer closer to himself.

Frowning as the sparkling amber liquid drifted away, Sasuke sank into a pout. Or at least as close to a pout as he could manage, being himself.*

"Why wouldn't I, considering?" he reached for Naruto's beer.

Smirking as Sasuke continued to trail after the beer even as Naruto continued to scoot it away from him, he began a little game of cat and mouse around the rim of the pool table. "Considering what?"

Sasuke, locked on his target, let his hand lead the way as he got closer to his prize. "Considering..." he began. But Naruto was moving too fast for him and he still felt dizzy. He took a big step forward and snagged the back loop of Naruto's jeans with his index finger, pulling Naruto back against him as his other hand dove in for the Corona.

"Considering I want you," he said, his fingers wrapping around Naruto's, still on the beer bottle. "Considering I always get what I want."

Blinking at the sudden feel of Sasuke suddenly intimately pressed against his back with their fingers intertwined around a bottle of beer, Naruto couldn't stop the thought of 'Oh, so this is what being gay feels like' from running through his head.

Not relinquishing his hold on the beer, Naruto managed to turn around with a bit of maneuvering considering Sasuke wasn't letting go either. "Considering how hard you were fighting to keep me at a distance just a few days ago, I don't think I have all that much to be nervous about," he admitted before bringing the beer to his lips and downing the rest of it.

"I stayed away from you for a reason," Sasuke said, frowning as he watched the empty bottle leave from his sight. Leaning forward, he lightly kissed Naruto, licking the now-sweet tasting remnants of alcohol from his friend's lips. When he pulled back, he licked his own.

"I'm not very good at being patient."

It may have been the wide-eye look of surprise on Naruto's face, or maybe even the fact that the lights dimmed, alerting customers that the hall would be closing soon. But at that moment the entire alcohol intake Sasuke had managed hit him full force and he leaned forward suddenly, his forehead coming down to rest on Naruto's shoulder.

He felt sick and the heat he had felt earlier was making him feel even more nauseous now that he remembered it. Not even the air conditioning pounding down from above seemed to alleviate the burning sensation causing goose pimples to rise on his arms and sweat to glisten from his brow.

"...Sasuke?" Naruto asked hesitantly as the other failed to move for several seconds.

Sasuke didn't answer right away. When he did, his words were almost inaudible. "Can you...water..."

"Ooookay, time to go," Naruto decided, placing his cue down and not bothering to gather up the balls in favor of wrapping an arm around Sasuke's waist to help keep him balanced as he forced the two of them towards the bar. "C'mon, we'll get you a glass as I pay off the tab."

Sasuke pushed Naruto away a bit and instead leaned back against the table. Sick or not, there was no way Naruto was going to half-carry him out.

" the tab," Sasuke recommended and in the meantime, he planned on regrouping himself. He wasn't sure how, but his pride was becoming an awful booming voice in his head.

Concern caused Naruto to remain for a few more seconds before deciding to obey Sasuke and go to pay off the tab alone.

During the short amount of time Naruto disappeared, Sasuke managed to get his jacket and pull it on. He hadn't felt this hungover since the beginning of college, and honestly, it was why he never drank. Even as convoluted as he was in his hazy and intoxicated thoughts, he felt like a fool.

Naruto honestly made him feel nervous enough to drink. To drink to the point he was at now. He glanced up towards the door and frowned.

If he wasn't seeing two, he might have just tried to escape on his own, and save himself the embarrassment of having to sober up and explain himself to Naruto later.

Jogging back to the table, Naruto quickly began to gather up the balls and put them back in their container, grumbling under his breath about having to clean up after himself when he'd rather be taking care of his friend.

Grabbing both sticks, he put them back against the wall and grabbed his jacket as well, slipping it on before picking up the rack of balls. "Ready to go?" he asked Sasuke, refraining from the random urge to reach out and offer a hand, having a feeling it would just be scowled at and batted away.

"Yeah," Sasuke said, and to Naruto's surprise, he reached out and claimed the hand Naruto had been prepared to offer. He refused to be carried out, but that didn't mean he wasn't a bit wobbly on his feet.

"Who's turn was it for a question?" he asked somewhat randomly. It felt like a good distraction.

Sliding the balls onto the counter and waving at the attendant, Naruto had to think back a bit to remember, feeling a bit surprised that Sasuke was still willing to play the game despite how uncomfortable he seemed with it.

"Uhm...mine?" Naruto guessed. "Why do you like me?"

When Sasuke was oddly silent for almost the majority of the time it took them to walk to the car, Naruto was positive he wasn't planning on answering. So when he did, it was surprising.

Sasuke leaned against the side paneling parallel to the passenger side door, and despite how sick he felt, he managed another one of those rare smiles.

"Because you're everything I'm not..." he said softly. "And a lot...of what I hope I can be."

Unlocking and opening the passenger door for Sasuke, Naruto smiled softly at the answer. "And you accuse *me* of being a romantic," he scolded, reaching out to help Sasuke into the car.

Sasuke's face soured almost immediately as he slid in. "I'm not a romantic."

There was a pause and he glared up at Naruto. "And I'm not pretty."

Chuckling, Naruto shook his head. "Of course you are!" he countered before shutting the door and heading over to his side of the car and slipping in.

Starting the car, he pulled out and began to drive them back to Sasuke's place. "Your turn to ask me a question."

"Mm," Sasuke murmured while resting his head against the cool window. "Are you going to let me live this down?"

"What? You getting drunk and still attempting to play pool? I might mention it from time to time," Naruto teased, stopping for a red light.

"I kissed you," Sasuke said, a bit more seriously. He closed his eyes as he began to feel a bit tired.

"I figured you were aiming for the beer," Naruto said, drumming his fingers against the wheel as he waited on the light.

Sasuke snorted. "You have too much faith in me," he said. "There are always...sides of people you don't know." The car bumbled over crumbled asphalt and made his stomach queasy again.

Naruto scoffed. "You can say that again," he said in reference to his lack of ever realizing Sasuke was gay before now.

"What...are your thoughts about tonight?" Sasuke asked, that voice mentally bashing him for asking. Of course tonight didn't mean anything; it hadn't even been a date. It would have been the same type of thing if they had gone out together as friends, only the awkward air of his earlier admission seemed to complicate the whole outing.

Naruto shrugged, casting Sasuke a quick look before returning his eyes to the road. "I don't know. You were so determined to be miserable before I started feeding you beer that I'm wondering if we should try again sometime."

Sasuke nodded, his eyes still closed, still somewhat comfortable rested against the window. "I don't want to lose you," he said softly.

"HA! After all the trouble I went through to get you in the first place?" Naruto challenged, turning into Sasuke's complex and keying in the gate code.

Sasuke's lips curved upward, but there was a hesitation that kept it from becoming a smile. He didn't say anything this time, but his head started pounding once he realized Naruto had parked and he now had to walk the ten feet to his apartment door, and another 20 to his bedroom.

"I'm just going to sleep here," he decided, exhaustion getting the best of him.

"Yeah right, and let your neighbors think you're dead? Not likely." Naruto reached over and undid Sasuke's seatbelt before hopping out of the car and going to open the passenger door, not really caring that Sasuke's head was still resting against it.

Nearly toppling out, Sasuke's eyes popped open and he reached out and clung to Naruto, surprised at how easily his friend managed to move him to the side in order to close the car door. He was surprised at how quickly Naruto's hand found its way around his waist and pulled him forward, almost effortlessly pulling him to the apartment. A few more small maneuvers had the door open, and Sasuke didn't want Naruto to let go of him.

"Don't leave..." Sasuke said as Naruto set him against the couch and was returning to close the open door.

"I wasn't planning to," Naruto said as he padded back into the living room, kneeling at Sasuke's feet so he could help take off his shoes. "You'll probably feel like death in the morning, so I'll be here to make sure you don't kill yourself in an effort to feel better."

"Such a caring friend," Sasuke said, the usual dash on cynicism laced in his tone. He started unbuttoning his shirt, noting that he still felt hot. His fingers fumbled though, in the effort that it took. He didn't even realize his eyes had drifted closed again.

Glancing up, Naruto did a bit of a double-take as he noticed more and more of Sasuke's chest slowly being revealed. "You sleep naked?" Naruto asked, his voice feeling a little high.

"Mmm-in boxers," Sasuke murmured, still attempting to tug the shirt away from his chest. He was too tired to be flirtatious, or even recognize the nervous gawking from Naruto. When he felt his feet finally free of his shoes, he lay back on the couch, still struggling with his shirt, and made a request.

"My jeans," he said to Naruto, and he yawned a little despite.

Head dropping a bit as he pushed the shoes away, Naruto mentally prayed for patience as he stood and examined Sasuke's jeans for a moment, trying very hard not to notice the way Sasuke was writhing in an attempt to get out of his shirt.

"If you were a girl, I'd probably be taking total advantage of you right now," Naruto muttered sullenly as he reached down and managed to hook his fingers into Sasuke's pants in an effort to hold him still as his thumbs came around to work on the button.

Sasuke giggled, if that was even possible. The whole sound didn't even seem fathomable, but he spoke so quickly after that it was as though it was never happened at all. "If I were you, I'd be taking advantage of me anyway," he said. "'re a good...friend," Sasuke said as he finally managed to undo the last button.

His hands then drifted down to Naruto's and he began undoing the button and zipper with Naruto's hands beneath his own, an action that was strangely sexual though not intended to be. When the constraints were no longer a hurdle Sasuke pulled Naruto's hands to his hips, hoisting them against the waistline of his denims.

"Pull," he instructed, and he lifted his hips up, feeling more overheated and exhausted than before.

Mouth dry and arms feeling oddly weak, Naruto had to take a quick moment to mentally regroup before doing as ordered, clearly able to see why Sasuke seemed to have such an easy time getting one night stands.

Despite him probably not intending to be, Sasuke was one who easily exerted sexual energy with absolutely no effort at all.

When Sasuke finally felt the cool air of his apartment touch his skin he pulled himself up, eyes still closed, hands bracing himself against the leather cushions of the sofa.


Looking up almost guiltily from his task of getting Sasuke's pants off his ankles, Naruto croaked out, "Yes?"

"...I'm really tired," he murmured. He looked as though at any moment he would just slip backwards unconscious.

"We should get you to bed then," Naruto said, finally managing to completely remove Sasuke's pants and tossed them aside.

Standing back up, he reached out a hand to Sasuke, wondering if he should just attempt to carry him to his room.

Seeing as Sasuke had no intention of opening his eyes, that turned out to be the better option.

Sasuke was lithe against him as Naruto helped him to his bedroom, and Sasuke did minimal work as Naruto managed to get him into his bed and under the covers. He twisted onto his side and snuggled into his pillow.

"You're...the only one..." Sasuke mumbled.

"You and your pillows," Naruto chided softly, still amazed at the sheer number of pillows Sasuke insisted on owning despite the one he was currently snuggled with being his favorite. Tucking him in a bit, Naruto brushed a strand of hair from Sasuke's face and was once again hit by the realization that he would do absolutely anything for this man.

Smiling a bit at the thought, Naruto straightened and silently headed back out the living room, claiming the couch as his bed for the night.

Poker Face

Part 2

Naruto entered the club, looking around with mild interest as he followed Kiba through the crowd to the table their friends had reserved near the back. The loud booming music flowed with an addictive beat that seemed to demand the sultry swinging of hips, a demand that was being obeyed by several caged and tabletop dancers, all of whom seemed to be dancing in pairs in an effort to further raise the sexual energy of the dance floor.

Pouting a bit at the idea of couples, Naruto returned his attention to Kiba's back, which was currently sporadically moving to the music as he continued to lead the way.

Naruto hadn't intended on joining tonight, doing his best to keep his schedule as open as possible for Sasuke, just in case whatever had been keeping him busy these past few weeks would suddenly be canceled for one night - or even one hour.

They had been on several more casual dates since the first disastrous one, and Naruto was proud to say that Sasuke had finally loosened up to the point where he was once again comfortable around him.

Despite Sasuke's constant suspicion of Naruto being secretly disgusted that he was gay, Naruto could clearly tell that Sasuke had been the one more affected of the two of them. It was because of this that Naruto had kept their dates casual, trying to show Sasuke that things were still okay between them, even if they were trying to take it to another level.

Naruto was pretty sure he was bi at this point, but he wasn't sure if it was because he was just really horny thanks to being abstinent for over a month or if he was over thinking the male anatomy. He had come to the conclusion that he wouldn't know for sure until things started moving forward sexually for both him and Sasuke, something he was sure he wouldn't have too much of a problem with. Because Sasuke really was pretty, regardless of how much he hated the fact.

It wasn't as though Sasuke had lied; he just hadn't quite told the entire truth. When telling Naruto he didn't have time for a date, he had really been hinting towards the fact that he didn't have the energy to think about *them*. The idea was constantly gnawing away at him, and it had been, ever since that first date weeks previous. The date where he realized that Naruto and himself could really never be anything but close friends.

Any normal person would have said they were perfect for each other, and Sasuke wouldn't hesitate to agree. But without each other...Sasuke knew that Naruto had realized it too, somewhere along the way. They had a bond, something they couldn't find anything to compare to. And as their casual dates had continued, Sasuke had come to understand something.

Whether Naruto knew it or not, the only reason he was continuing these charades was because he knew he couldn't lose Sasuke. Just like Sasuke knew he couldn't lose Naruto. Just like he knew the only way he could get away from the entrapment he felt was to simply escape to the things he knew best; the people and places he knew all too well.

A man came up behind him and Sasuke soured when a hand came to rest on his hip, sweaty, the smell of aged wheat beer and salted nuts making him don his trademark glare. "If you know what's good for you, you'll understand what I mean by saying you're not my type."

The man raised an eyebrow as if pretending not to hear a word from Sasuke's lips over the loud music that pulsated around them, but something passed through Sasuke's eyes that made him quickly understand. He wanted someone blond, he thought mutely, feeling agitated at himself for calling off another date with Naruto, simply to be here, looking for a night where he could think of anyone but.

No matter how much it pained him to admit it, everything made him think of Naruto. He didn't just want someone blond, he wanted someone he couldn't have. Someone who would soon decide to call off their casual dating so that their friendship could return to normal.

He could manage that much, as long as Naruto always remained by him, true to himself. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

At the uproarious cheer of his and Kiba's arrival, Naruto offered a large grin, and waved to the numerous faces he hadn't seen outside of campus for quite a while.

"See, I told you this'd be a good idea," Kiba slugged him on the back, while slyly taking a fruity drink from the hands of a pretty blonde girl seated at their bottle-service table. He sipped a little and she giggled when he handed it back to her. "Sweet drink with a sweet girl. I like, I like."

Turning back to Naruto he grinned. "There's nothing like a good ol' bump-and-grind to get a man back into shape," he said, a hint of promise in his tone.

Naruto schooled his face into a pouting glare. "Just because I haven't been out and about every night like you guys doesn't mean I'm not getting any."

Laughter and hooting calls sounded around them.

After a loud cackle escaped from Kiba's throat, the brunet ruffled Naruto's hair. "Yes, yes it does. Especially because you've been spending so much time with...what's his name? That Asian guy that doesn't know any English."

The blond girl from the table went wide-eyed. "You're helping a foreign exchange student? That's so sweet!" It was obvious she was already tipsy.

Despite the teasing air, the punch Naruto delivered to Kiba's arm was hard enough to hurt. "His name is Sasuke, you dick, and he's been my best friend since 8th grade." Grabbing a beer from a full platter that was magically set on the table in the middle of everyone, Naruto took a drink before continuing. "And he speaks English just fine. He just doesn't like you."

There was a slight delay before Kiba grimaced, rubbing his arm hard. The people at the table who heard laughed heartily at the abuse. Suddenly, Kiba's eyes got wide.

"He doesn't like me? How could he not?"

He looked bewildered and put his arm around the shoulders of another girl at the table. "You still love me, don't you?" his puppy dog eyes sparkled and she laughed before pecking his cheek.

Looking satisfied in his work, Kiba smirked up at Naruto.

Naruto chuckled, rolling his eyes and turning his attention out to the dance floor to assess the crowd at this still somewhat decent hour.

The place was fairly packed thanks to it being a Friday night, plus the fact that it had recently been featured in some big name national magazine. Naruto felt lucky that his friends had thought to get reservations early on so they wouldn't have to worry about the line that had been rapidly growing longer when he had first arrived.

The dress code seemed to run on the risqué side of upper class, and Naruto found himself wondering if this was the type of place Sasuke used to come to for his one night stands.

That thought process came to a slow halt as he spotted someone who looked just like Sasuke out on the dance floor, enthusiastically grinding hips with another blond man.

As Naruto continued to watch out of morbid curiosity for homosexuality (a habit he had developed after he had started watching gay porn), he came to realize that the man on the dance floor was Sasuke. He couldn't see his face clearly, nor did he have any idea how Sasuke danced, but he could tell that was his best friend based on the way he simply carried himself through his moves.

The bottom of Naruto's stomach felt as if it had disappeared as he continued to watch this side of Sasuke, this side that he was pretty sure he was never meant to see.

He felt strange tonight. He couldn't bring himself to open his eyes, though he was sure he could feel eyes on him. Not that it was a foreign feeling. His figure was good and he was Japanese, so he seemed to attract attention like some exotic creature wherever he decided to let loose. But this time the feeling was different.

His skin felt cooled suddenly, even though he was curving into his partner with enough force to break a sweat. His eyes broke open suddenly though and he felt like rolling his eyes.

Why was it that *everywhere* he went he saw Naruto? He closed his eyes, and there he was. He would open them, and there he'd be. And now, like a ghost, Naruto was staring at him from across the club.

Was this his conscience? It had to be. His heart beat a bit faster and he had to repeat his mantra of 'it's all for the best', hoping the apparition would vanish.

But it didn't go away.

Instead, it grew paler. The way a person did when someone punched them in the stomach. The way someone did when they found someone important to them doing something horribly unexpected.

The way Naruto would look if he caught Sasuke in a club, body wound tight around a stranger.

It was then that Sasuke realized it wasn't an apparition at all.

Naruto turned his head away, fighting back the nauseas feeling that was stirring in his gut.

He didn't understand it. He thought things had been going great between them. Sasuke had even gone into this with the admittance that he could and would never play games where Naruto was involved. But if this wasn't some game, then what was it?

Putting the beer down on the table, Naruto sent a pleading glance towards Kiba who was looking at him with concern, probably from having seen the entire change in his countenance over the past minute. Motioning a thumb towards the entrance, Naruto mouthed out that he was leaving and thankfully Kiba nodded, his face showing his confusion despite accepting the circumstances.

Running a hand through his hair, Naruto weaved his way through the crowd, the sudden adrenaline rush urging him to move faster, to run if possible, just to get out of the club and away from what he had seen on the dance floor that much quicker.

He wasn't too sure if he had obeyed such urges, finding himself outside without much memory of how he got there as the cool night air hit his face, the dream-like feeling he was in intensified by the fact that his ears had dulled the noise of the world around him after being put through the abuse of the loud speakers from inside.

Moving aside as a group was permitted entrance, he remained where he was for a moment before deciding his destination was home. He wasn't familiar enough with the area to just walk back to his apartment, but he could vaguely recall seeing a subway entrance a few blocks back from the car ride with Kiba earlier.

Heading in the direction he assumed was right, he allowed his mind to puzzle over just why Sasuke would be wrapped around some stranger when they were supposed to be together.

Did Sasuke no longer like him? That would explain why he suddenly had such a busy schedule despite his anti-social tendencies. But then why wouldn't he just come out and tell him? Maybe that was his new boyfriend?

Maybe Sasuke had an evil twin?

Naruto debated on calling Sasuke in hopes of proving this second theory.

Sasuke rubbed his wrist, biting back the urge to go back inside and deck the man who had attempted to refuse to let him leave. He was pretty sure it would bruise at the vice grip his dancing partner had given him, but fortunately, Sasuke was a man who could handle himself.

And now...he had to do just that.

Naruto had seen him.

Sasuke didn't understand it. Naruto never went to clubs, never went to *his* clubs at least, and now...he wasn't sure what he felt. Numb was the only word that stuck to his tongue and lips. His whole body, his mind--even his breathing was shallow as he ducked outside, trying to find Naruto's familiar figure on the street.

He glanced back and forth wildly until he caught sight of Naruto rounding a corner quite a ways away. Sasuke paused before bolting after him.

Wasn't this what he had wanted? For Naruto to realize it couldn't work?

But if that was the case, Sasuke didn't understand why he felt like someone was choking every emotion out of him. Like he had been a relationship he had convinced himself didn't exist between them.

He didn't know what to do. Would Naruto forgive him? Did he want to be forgiven?

Sasuke was shaking in his split second decision making. Tearing his vision to the direction Naruto had been a minute before, Sasuke shot forward, racing as fast as he could manage.

He dodged a few people before turning the corner onto a nearly empty street that lead to the subway station. He recognized it because he had taken the subway home on occasion after long nights out on the town. Most everyone was coming to the downtown strip however, and few people were leaving.

Which left Sasuke slowing his pace, coming to terms that Naruto really was only about 20 feet ahead of him. His throat was dry. It was odd, because Sasuke never froze up. But now, he couldn't even bring himself to do anything.

It probably had something to do with the expression on Naruto's face. And the fact he was responsible for it.

"Naruto..." he said, but the word was so soft he barely heard it himself. The subway was coming and Naruto was moving towards it, and adrenaline suddenly made Sasuke shuffle forward.

In less that five seconds he was in front of Naruto, blocking his entrance to the subway car.

"You're not leaving," he said quickly. It was all he could think to say. His world was crumbling around him.

Naruto nearly jumped at the sudden appearance of Sasuke right in front of him. Unfortunately no surprise showed through the mask his face had slipped into in the few minutes it had taken for him to get to the subway station.

He stared blankly at the one before him for several seconds, all of his thoughts being washed away by the swirl of emotions that was bombarding him at the sight of a sweaty, panting Sasuke, looking at him with a looking that borderline desperation. The look didn't penetrate past the hurt, confusion and betrayal that was pounding through Naruto.

Shaking his head and scoffing, Naruto broke eye contact and moved to walk around Sasuke.

"Please don't leave."

Even thought the adrenaline was still forcing its way through Sasuke's veins, his limbs refused to move. For the first time in his life since his parents had passed away, he felt like he had no control. If Naruto wanted to leave, if he wanted to go...

...Sasuke would fall apart.

He didn't understand how, or why, or what was even going through his head. His chin lowered to his chest and he felt all of his insecurities blanket him again; he realized he was trembling.

"Please, Naruto..." he said, his eyes clenching closed, afraid to let Naruto's back be the last memory he would have of him. "Please don't."

Naruto's eyes narrowed in sudden annoyance as he turned to look at Sasuke's trembling back. "Why? I didn't mean to interrupt your busy evening. See? I even left so things wouldn't be awkward."

This hiss of the train's doors closing drew Naruto's attention back to the cars and his jaw clenched as the train began to move forward without him on it. So much for his quick escape.

Taking a deep breath for patience, Naruto turned so that he was fully facing Sasuke, flinching a bit as the mental image of Sasuke's form moving so fluidly with another flashed through his memory.

Naruto hadn't gotten on the subway.

That was the only thought that kept running through Sasuke's mind as his eyes opened, but he wasn't greeted with the usual brilliant grin or clever smirk. Naruto's expression was one Sasuke had never seen, and it hurt him even more close up.

So did his words.

"Why are you mad at me?" Was the wining question he came up with. He didn't know why Naruto was so upset when they weren't even *really* together. When Naruto was simply sacrificing his sexuality for the sake of his confused and apparently needy best friend. He didn't get it.

The question floored Naruto and he truly found himself wondering if he was in fact facing Sasuke's evil twin.

"Why-?" Naruto's eyes were wide as he realized it wasn't a rhetorical question. "You're serious? You want to know *why* I'm mad at you?"

Sasuke's composure came back a little when he started feeling defensive against Naruto's tone.

"Yeah...You--You don't even like me," he pointed out, raising an eyebrow and shaking his head.

Naruto's expression grew dangerous. "Coming from the one who's been cheating on me, that's really rich." He crossed his arms. "Why'd you chase me?" he shot back, more convinced than ever that this person before him wasn't really Sasuke.

"Because you--" Sasuke cut himself off, his voice rising. "What do you want from me? I just--You just keep leading me on and on and on and it's not fair!" Sasuke ran a hand through his hair and pressed his palm to his forehead, trying to manage the thoughts in his head.

These casual dates...these countless 'casual' dates...for what? For nothing? For Sasuke to try and pretend that maybe, if Naruto actually *wanted* to be with him, this is what their relationship might be like?

Naruto frowned as his jaw fell open. An accusing finger jumped up as his patience flew out the window.

"What?!? Are you even listening to yourself??" he shouted. "I want you! That's what I want from you, and that's what I thought you wanted from me too! What's there to lead on from?!"

Sasuke glared at Naruto from underneath his wrist. It fell from his forehead limply.

"Are you listening to yourself?" he corrected. "You only wanted to date me because you felt sorry for me. And then you decide to do it casually, when you even told me that 'casual dating doesn't count'."

Sasuke continued to stare at Naruto, feeling satisfied in some morbid way that they were both finally letting off steam. It felt like it had been a long time coming.

He paced for a minute before whipping back to Naruto. "And you say you want me? What exactly do you want? Because I can guarantee you don't know the half of what I want and have been wanting from you," he challenged, his breathing uneven as he struggled against his frustration.

"Bullshit!" Naruto barked, pride getting the best of him. "From what I saw back at the club just now, there's no way you want me even half as much as I want you! And why the hell would I feel sorry for you! You probably have more sex than myself and Kiba combined and it does TOO count!" he yelled, abruptly changing topics as his brain subconsciously filed through everything Sasuke had just said. "How the hell was I supposed to know you were ready for more when you've only just recently stopped acting like a terrified rabbit around me all the time?! Shit, I've been trying to go on a real date with you for the past TWO weeks!"

The fight suddenly left Naruto and his shoulders slumped. "I just don't get why you didn't tell me you changed your mind about me," he said brokenly. "I mean, you've never been one to dance around like this and you promised you'd never play games like this with me..."

"I haven't had sex since we started dating," and against Sasuke's better judgement, he used his fingers to create quotes around the word. "It wasn't my responsibility to tell you I wanted more; you already knew. I was the one waiting for you. I've always been the one waiting for you."

There was a brief second of silence before Sasuke mellowed too, leaning back against the subways directional map and pocketing his cold hands. "I've never played games with you. I was..." how to say it, "...just waiting for you to tell me you didn't want this."

His eyes narrowed again, remembering Naruto's earlier words and feeling like he hadn't quite retorted strongly enough towards them. "And don't talk to me like I'm loose or something. I'm not."

He was actually really hurt by that comment, and couldn't look Naruto in the eye.

Naruto snorted. "And what? This is how you pass the time while waiting?" The accusation was immediately followed by an apology. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for." He sighed, trying to sort things out in his head. "What makes you think I wouldn't want this?"

Sasuke's face soured, even with Naruto's apology. "Why would I think you want this, or me? You're straight, for Christ's sake. You don't have to keep pretending you're not just because you're afraid to hurt my feelings!"

"What? When have I ever been afraid of hurting your feelings? And why are you so Hell-bent on me being straight?! Is that your way of telling yourself that this is okay?" he asked, an arm waving back in the general direction of the club before fingers came up to cruelly mimic Sasuke's earlier air quotes. "That us 'dating' is just some illusion for my stupid American brain to sit pretty in?"

"Can you at least try and see this from my point of view?" Sasuke's eyes narrowed, not liking the way his friend was implying that Sasuke thought he was stupid.

"I'm sorry. I messed up. I never realized you developed feelings for me, or that whatever we have somehow turned into a real relationship. But honestly..."

Sasuke wasn't good at expressing himself, and he hated, worse than that, explaining himself.

"Naruto, I haven't just liked you for years. I've lo--I've really cared. I don't want you to not be here one day. And what's worse...what's worse for me, is for you to not be here, and for me to remember what it was like to 'date' you. What I could have had, but never can have. I can't do that. I...just can't."

Naruto looked like he wanted to speak, but Sasuke kept going. "It wasn't nice of you to put me into a position where I couldn't choose. You said 'casual', you said you wanted to 'try it out'...I just...Damnit. Have you even thought once about what that meant to me?"

Looking down at the dirty cement, Naruto felt beyond guilty for putting Sasuke through such emotions when all he had thought about was making him happy instead. Rubbing the back of his neck, Naruto looked off to the side, feeling he should choose his next words carefully.

"You're an idiot."

At Sasuke's completely offended and incredulous look, Naruto continued. "I told myself going into this that we would be a destined couple once we kissed. Well, we not only kissed, but I saw you naked, too, and I'm still here. If things were meant to end, they would have done so right away. Your insecurities are stupid."

Sasuke wanted to argue but he couldn't find the willpower to. "Even if they are, I still have them. And we didn't kiss, I licked alcohol off your lips. And...I certainly don't remember being naked with you." Even though his comment was full of a smitten curiosity, Sasuke still looked and felt completely tormented.

Naruto scowled. "It was a kiss and your nakedness was sexy," he said stubbornly before taking a few steps forward and hesitating. "You know you're my most important person, right?"

Sasuke stared at Naruto for a moment longer, but his expression softened into something that mirrored guilt. His eyes fell half-mast, and he wasn't sure how to respond. Now, in the face of hearing words he had never imagined he would hear, all he could remember was how many times he had turned down dates the past week, and how many late nights he had pulled trying to forget about them.

"I really didn't sleep with anyone, I swear..." his voice wasn't stern like it usually was; instead it was shaky.

Naruto let out a breath that could have been either a sigh or a chuckle, before reaching his arms out. "Come here," he instructed.

Rather than embracing Sasuke in a hug as he probably expected, Naruto placed one hand on his cheek, the other circling around to comb into black, gelled locks as he guided in forward, their lips mashing as Naruto shifted into a more comfortable stance before tilting his head to kiss Sasuke properly.

Sasuke felt the wind rush from his stomach, leaving him breathless and surprised, and amazingly enough, sated. His hands were only hanging at his side for a second before they found their way to Naruto's hips, and he tugged forward, crushing their bodies together.

His eyes were closed by now and his brain had finally stopped thinking. It was simply interested in doing. He twisted his head to the side to catch Naruto's lower lip between his lips, kissing it softly as he pulled away and let his head fall to rest in the gentle curve of Naruto's neck.

Arms shifted so that he was fully holding Sasuke as Naruto buried his head into the small juncture just below Sasuke's jaw. "Does this kiss count?" he asked, feeling a little breathless at Sasuke's obvious skill.

Sasuke smiled and hot breath brushed against Naruto's skin, and really, that was as close to a laugh that anyone was going to get out of him tonight.

"I think..." he started, pulling away slightly to look into Naruto's eyes. "I think I'll date you for real now," he offered.

A genuine smile slowly made its way over Naruto's face. "It's about time," he said happily. "You'll have to wait a while, though. My schedule will be unexpectedly busy for the next few weeks..." he joked.

Sasuke frowned and pushed Naruto away from him lightly, turning back towards the club district. "In that case, I have someone to go apologize to," he took a step away from Naruto and turned, eyebrow raised. "Or maybe you can pencil me in for tonight?"

Naruto reached out and grabbed Sasuke's sleeve to stop him from leaving. "What do you have in mind for tonight?"

Sasuke turned and ran his middle and forefinger up Naruto's chest until he finally slid his arm around Naruto's neck, drawing himself closer, an invisible gravity pulling them together.

"I was thinking some roleplay," he chanced. "You can be the straight guy I manage to turn gay," he stared, searching Naruto's eyes for approval.

"I dunno, I'm feeling pretty gay right now," Naruto admitted, the heat swirling in his belly beginning to grow distracting.

Sasuke smiled, that rare and genuine one that only Naruto got to see, and pulled himself back, grabbing Naruto's wrist and pulling him forward. The next ride had arrived; he had heard it moments before, and it was becoming a bit too cold to linger outside.

"Come on," he said and the warm rush of the muggy compartment was welcomed in comparison to the coolness outside. Sasuke grabbed one of the steady-polls and looped back around, bringing his face to Naruto's again.

"I just want to keep kissing you." he said flatly.

"Why? Was the first one not good enou-mph!" Naruto decided maybe it was time to shut up as the train started to move, causing him to surge forward and meet Sasuke's already-waiting lips in another heated kiss, a shiver running through his body as tongues were quickly added, not giving him a chance to properly taste Sasuke's bottom lip.

Naruto found he didn't really mind as their tongues eagerly danced around each other, his pulse quickening as his fingers traced out the smooth contours of Sasuke's neck and jawline.

"If you say..." Sasuke managed between light sweeps of his tongue, "...something stupid..." he pecked Naruto's lips lightly and opened his eyes to show he was serious, " 'you're pretty', I'll stop," it was a warning if Naruto ever heard one.

Sasuke didn't stop though, he merely pulled Naruto closer, the bar between them feeling good against his thighs and hips since he didn't want to push for too much tonight. He was actually more than surprised that Naruto seemed to be craving him as much as Sasuke craved was a pleasant surprise.

He felt heated and overwhelmed, but somehow more in control of the situation than he cared to admit. He guessed that's what happened when you really cared for someone. Sex wasn't quick and pointless. It meant something. It was something that could wait.

Naruto tilted his head down a bit so that he could pull his lips away even as the kiss seemed to continue. "But.." he trailed off a bit as he saw that Sasuke's eyes were open again, clearly telling him to stop talking if he valued his life.

Naruto didn't heed the threat.

"...You are pretty."

"And you're still an idiot," Sasuke sighed, unwrapping his arms from Naruto in order to go and sit peacefully and very anti-sexually on one of the subway seats. He licked his lips, relishing the taste of his newest conquest; the one that would hopefully last forever.

a/n: I wonder if any of you can tell which one of us does which character? HAHA.