Raising Albert

A/N: The goal with this story was to write a steamy, well-developed oneshot. The oneshot part didn't happen, which I realized when I hit 27 pages. So, submitted for your approval, part one. (Thrill as Kallie attempts to write smut for the first time!)

Also, I have an LJ account for fics that I don't want on ol' fanficdotnet, and I intend to post this there (except not right now, as it's one a.m. and I have work tomorrow)... it's called ExcessiveKallie, and if you have some spare time I'm hoping that someday it'll be worth your while to check it out.


"Lube... where's the lube?"

"It's on the dre-," Naruto shook his head. Be firm, he reminded himself. Not that his body needed any reminding on that count. He had rehearsed this conversation in his head so many times before picking up the phone, trying to map out his boyfriend's responses ahead of time. But how was he supposed to know that Neji was going to have his clothes half off before he was fully in the door? "I wanted to talk about something."

"I want to talk to you, too," Neji breathed, completely failing to pick up on the serious tone in Naruto's voice.

Naruto's judgement took a backseat for a moment, and he moaned and let Neji push him back onto the bed. But Neji wasn't playing fair, not if he was going to nibble his ear that way that only Neji really seemed to do right.

"That's better," Neji was quick to pounce on him, hand down his pants and stroking the only part of Naruto that seemed willing to stand firm. "You should know better than to play hard-to-get after you invite me over."

"This isn't what I had in mind," Naruto gasped out. His hands seemed to be in on the conspiracy, reaching up to grab Neji's hair (that hair! What did he do to it, to make it like that?) and pull his head down so that Naruto could kiss him. (Even his mouth was betraying him, now. Get it together, body, we had a plan!)

As if responding to his pleading, his fingers dug deeper into Neji's hair and brushed against the knot of cloth tying his headband in place. Naruto had an idea that was just crazy enough to work; Neji flipped out when his headband fell off unexpectedly, if Naruto 'accidentally' untied it, maybe they could stop long enough to talk...

On some level, Naruto was aware that it was not okay to take advantage of your boyfriend's deep-seated psychological issues to control him during sex. On another level, Naruto was dimly aware that this action would make the conversation he had in mind more difficult, not less. But the clincher was the level on which Naruto was very aware that he didn't want to stop just yet.

"I don't want you to stop," Naruto whispered when Neji pulled his lips away for a breather.

"I wasn't planning on it," Neji reassured him with the slightest grin. "Hand me the lube, will you?"

Naruto reluctantly untwined his fingers and groped around on the dresser until he found the little tube. "We need to buy more."

"Do we have enough for now?"

"Uh..." Naruto squeezed the tube experimentally. "I think so..."

"See, this is why I tell you to squeeze it like a toothpaste tube," Neji said, raising a critical eyebrow.

"I do!"

"No, you don't," Neji sighed, taking the lubrication from him and squeezing from the almost-empty end of the tube. "See, like this, so you don't waste any."

"Fine," Naruto snatched it back. "Just a second... I can do this. I am the lube master!"

"I know," Neji's snide little grin was back. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Well," Naruto's voice took on his signature seductive tone, "you can start by taking off your pants..."

"Already did that."

"What? When-," Naruto looked up from the tube he was working on. Neji was, indeed, completely nude. "You're a sex ninja, you know that?"


"Hmm... I still seem to be wearing my pants, though..." Naruto noted.

"I'll get right on fixing that, then."

It was not that Naruto did not enjoy the sensation of having his pants tugged off, accented with the occasional kisses and love bites to his shoulders and chest, or even that he minded extracting the appropriate amount of lube. It was just a lull in the overall action that caused him to remember why he had called Neji to begin with.

"There's not much left... might be a little tight."

"I don't mind," Neji assured him, backing his statement up by running his tongue alluringly over Naruto's navel.

"So, have you talked to your uncle about us yet?" Naruto asked as casually as possible.

The warm sensation of Neji's mouth against his skin stopped abruptly. "NARUTO!"

"What? It's a reasonable question."

"Don't you think this a bad time to ask? I don't ask you how Jiraiya's getting on when we're fucking. You never ask about family stuff during sex. That's practically the number one rule of sex! Nobody wants to start thinking about their mom while someone's boning them!"

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry," Naruto apologized hastily. "Although I didn't ask about your mom and I'm not actually boning you at the moment..."

Neji threw him a glare that could have broken a window. "You don't really want this right now, do you?"

"What? No! I do!" Naruto's crotch throbbed impatiently, telling him to fix whatever it was he had done to make Neji stop paying attention to it.

"You've been acting weird since I got here," Neji said tragically, throwing his legs over the edge of the bed as though planning to leave.

"No, no, come back," Naruto begged, trying to grab him without spilling the precious lubrication on his right hand. "I'm sorry."

"Apologizing isn't going to get me back in the mood, now, is it?" Neji asked irritably.

"Well, what will, then?" Naruto asked, turning his seductive voice back on. "I'm willing to make amends, you know."

Neji seemed satisfied with this idea. He crawled back onto the bed, keeping his eyes locked on Naruto to make sure that the blond was watching the way his body moved. "Fine," he purred once he was close enough to bump his forehead against Naruto's, his hair falling around their faces to create a mildly-aromatic curtain around them. "Do you have enough of the lube out yet?"


Neji's mouth twisted into a devious little smile. "Good."


Naruto was a red-blooded man. He liked sex. A lot. Of course he liked that Neji liked sex. But the best part about sex... the best part about sex with Neji was that Neji liked cuddling as much as Naruto did. Cuddling was important; the core problem with Naruto and Sasuke's short-lived relationship had been that Sasuke did not understand cuddling. Cuddling after sex said to Naruto 'I really just want to be with you. Sex is good, but it's better with you. So let's cuddle.'

So Naruto's very favorite part of sex was right afterward, when he was feeling a little drowsy, and he could just sink back on his bed, with Neji curled up next to him, and they could just... well, touch each other and say the stupid little things that went through their minds.

Like, Naruto could brush Neji's hair back (it always seemed to end up falling across his face) and kiss him and wait for the little tired murmur of satisfied pleasure. "Don't you wish we could do this every morning?"

"Mmm," Neji more-or-less responded, his fingers absently tracing the lines on Naruto's abs. "We'd never be on time for missions."

"We'd just have to wake up early," Naruto replied, twining his fingers through Neji's hair. Naruto had been thinking about him and Neji a lot lately. They'd passed their six-month anniversary a few days ago, making Neji his official longest-lasting relationship. It was the moments like this that made Naruto wonder, what if he could have this all the time? Wouldn't it be great if he could wake up every morning (or mid-afternoon, as Naruto sometimes did) and find Neji lying next to him, sunlight playing off that entirely-too-pretty face of his? But Neji wasn't the type to talk about his feelings, at least not to the people directly involved in them. Naruto didn't want to rush things by insisting they move in together or anything. He was sure that Neji would want to, but he wasn't sure if Neji would admit that. Better to take small steps.

Naruto took a deep breath. "You realize we've been together for six months, right?"

"Yes, of course." Neji said absently.

"So... did you tell your uncle yet?"

"Sunlight," Neji muttered.


"Your window," Neji explained, pointing at the dusty picture window that took up most of the wall opposite the bed. "It gets really good sunlight... it must face south. You should get a plant for it."

Naruto considered the empty windowsill. It was depressingly bare. "You think a plant would do well there?"

"Yeah," Neji sat halfway up, propping himself against the pillows. "I think it would do great," he leaned over to peck Naruto on the cheek, "I bet you're as good with plants as you are with birds."

"So... do you want to go buy a plant or make love again? I'm getting mixed signals."

"We should go buy a plant," Neji decided, "We're out of lube, anyway. And if we're going to do this every morning, we should get used to getting up afterwards."

Naruto thought this sounded hopeful. So, Neji had taken the hint, after all. He whistled as he retrieved and pulled on his clothes, thinking of the happy days to come when they could do this every day.


Neji never held his hand in public. Needless to say, kissing, hugging, groping, stroking, pet-names, footsie, and most forms of whispering were right out, as well. It made dates about as romantic and intimate as a business meeting.

But they could be fun, sometimes, Naruto thought as he held up a plant. "What about this one?"

"If you don't mind having bright purple flowers in your window," Neji said with typical snobbery.

"I thought you liked purple," Naruto countered, flailing an arm at Neji's decidedly-purple apron.

"I do, but, Naruto, your bedroom and purple are two things that should never mix."

"Then you have to take off that thing before you're allowed in," Naruto laughed as he returned the plant to the shelf.

"Stop it," Neji muttered under his breath. Naruto winked at him.

"You stop it," he whispered back, cattily as possible.

"Your sheets finally match, after years of clashing horribly," Neji lectured. This had been a sore point for the mildly-OCD man the first time Naruto had brought him home.

"Thanks to you," Naruto reminded him.

"Well, I think we should celebrate by buying you a plant that doesn't clash hideously."

"And what plant, pray tell, won't clash hideously?"

"One that doesn't flower purple, pink, or orange," Neji said, sweeping through the store. "Also one that isn't an annual. Or an outdoor plant."

"Picky, picky, picky," Naruto gave an exaggerated sigh as he followed Neji to the houseplants section. He licked his lips a little at the sight of all the plants growing in their pretty pots. Not that he was turned on by shrubbery or anything, but the idea of he and Neji purchasing a plant together. A plant needed care. It needed parents. It was as close to adopting a pet as he could get, what with his landlady. This was a commitment.

"This one is nice," proclaimed an unusually-symmetric bonsai floating in front of Naruto's eyes. Naruto jumped back, slowly processing that it was Neji, not the bonsai, speaking.

"Yeah, it's nice. You sure it doesn't clash?"

Neji held the little tree away from him, considering it as though it were a glass of wine. "It will look good."

"Then let's name it Albert," Naruto said, taking the plant away delicately and holding it like a deranged baby. Neji raised an eyebrow at him.

"Albert? It's a plant."

"Neji!" Naruto patted Albert's foliage. "Don't talk like that around our baby!"

Neji rolled his eyes, but Naruto caught the slight grin. Smiling, he turned to their plant. "I will give you a name," he told it deliberately. "A. Name."

"All right, Naruto," Neji grabbed his collar and pulled him towards the cashier. "Let's pay for Albert and get out of here before you can embarrass me any further."

"By ripping off your clothes and having my way with you right here?" Naruto suggested. Neji shot him a warning glare. "Relax, I would never do that in front of our little Albert... at least, not until we've got him home."

Things hit a slight snag at the cashier's station, when Naruto got his first look at the price on his little bonsai in its fancy decorative pot.

"Here, we'll split it," Neji said when Naruto began lamenting the idea of trading Albert for a cheaper plant.

"But then it'll be yours, too," Naruto said as Neji began laying his money on the counter. "It wouldn't be fair to keep it in my room all the time. We'll have to find a way to share it... keep it in our room."

Neji nodded. "I'll think of something."

Naruto was so happy that he didn't even try to force Neji into the sex shop with him on their way back to put Albert in his new home.


"Naruto, wake up. I made pancakes, and they'll get cold."

"Mmm, five more minutes, Neji."

"But if you don't wake up now, we won't have any time after breakfast for us..."

"A'right. Water Albert and I'll be up in a sec."

Knock Knock Knock.

"Neji, could you get the door?"

Knock Knock Knock.

"Neji, the door."

Knock Knock Knock.

Slowly it dawned on Naruto that he was dreaming. He opened his eyes, noting with extreme disappointment that Neji's comforting hand shaking him awake was actually the corner of his comforter, and also that it was six in the morning.

"You're lucky I'm wearing boxers, because I'm not puttin' on anything else to answer the door at six in the morning," he grumbled as he unlocked his door groggily.

"If I was really lucky, you'd sleep in the buff."

Naruto squinted listlessly through his door. "Neji, what are you doing here?"

"You said you wanted to start meeting in the morning."

"I said I wanted to have sex with you in the mornings," Naruto groaned.

"Exactly," Neji leaned in to kiss him, and Naruto leaned back, confused but irritated. "What's wrong? I know it's early, but if we want to be out of bed on time..."

"I meant that I wanted you to move in with me so we could wake up together every morning!" Naruto groaned exasperatedly. "Not that I wanted you to beat down my door and demand sex before dawn!"

"Well, now that I'm here..." Neji shrugged, not without a little hope in his eyes.

"I just woke up. I'm not in the mood." Naruto regarded Neji's studiously-unemotional face, trying not to feel guilty. "But since you're here, do you want to spoon or something?"

It always amazed Naruto that someone whose skin and eyes looked like ice could be so warm.

"Albert misses you when you're gone, you know," he whispered when he woke up enough to notice Neji admiring their plant.

"Well, he gets to come home with me today," Neji said, "I figured it out to be the fairest possible. Mondays and Tuesdays with me, Wednesdays and Thursdays with you, for the first two weeks of the month, then switch for the next two weeks. Every other weekend, from Friday to Sunday, we'll switch off. It's pretty simple."

Naruto left Neji's obsessive-compulsive's version of 'simple' alone. "Why isn't he staying here?"

"I thought you wanted him to be raised by both of his parents," Neji purred.

"I don't want him in a broken home..."

"We're not broken, sweetie. We just have alternative living arrangements. Albert will understand."

"Well, we don't have to-," Naruto started working on massaging Neji's shoulder. He wanted to demonstrate as many advantages of living with him as possible when he brought up the subject.

"Mmm... Naruto, it's 8:30, y'know."

"SHIT! I was supposed to meet Sakura half an hour ago!" Naruto rolled out of bed, making Neji squirm uncomfortably.

"It'll be cold without you... can't you blow her off?"

"Future Hokages don't ditch missions to snuggle," Naruto said as he pulled on some pants. "I'll see you tonight?"

"Yeah. Now hurry up and leave before I knock you out and keep you here."


Nobody in Konoha was under any delusion about Neji's sexuality. Nobody in Konoha had ever been under any delusion about Neji's sexuality, least of all Hiashi. Neji had been girlier than Hinata right up until she hit puberty and grew those- but Hiashi tried not to think about that. The point is that nobody ever pretended to think Neji was straight. True, he had never formally come out of the closet, but at this point it would be redundant.

He tried to be nice to the boy, but Neji seemed to take some perverse pleasure in foiling attempts to be friendly. That was Hiashi's story, and he was sticking to it.

"So, you got a plant," he observed when Neji walked past him with a bonsai in hand.

"Yes. My room could use some green."

"It's nice. It'll cheer the place up a little." Neji's room looked like it doubled as an operating room for a particularly-humorless surgeon. What kind of twenty-year-old bought tasteful framed modern art instead of posters?

"I suppose."

"Where were you this morning, by the way? You must have left before dawn."

"I was... training," Neji shrugged.

"All day?"

"No. I got a plant, too."

"Oh. You know, if you ever want help training... It's not like I have anything better to do."

Neji's entire body went rigid, and he eyed his uncle suspiciously. "Excuse me?"

"Training. Do you want help training?" Hiashi asked as clearly as possible. This was his problem with talking to Neji; he had no idea what he had said to make him freak out like this. It was a perfectly ordinary offer.

"Oh, right, that training," Neji seemed to shake himself off. "Uh, maybe later this week."

"You have a date or something?"

Neji blinked. "Nu- Ye- No. Of course not. I'm going to put this plant down, ok?"

Neji walked off at a deliberately-slow pace. Hiashi shook his head.

"That boy needs to get laid... or get some serious medication."


"Hey, Neji. Nice plant."

Neji didn't look up from Albert, whom he was carefully watering. "Hanabi, what do I say about knocking?"

"Pish, knocking is for people who are mooching housing off their uncle," Hanabi shrugged. "Do you want to help me sneak into The House Down the Road from Real Life? It's the next in the Zombie Abortions series, and it looks absolutely fantastic."

"You're a little young for that, aren't you?"

"Yeah, that's why I need you to help me sneak in. It'll be a nice cousin-cousin bonding experience."

"I can't."

Hanabi pouted and bounced onto the bed. "Why not? You took Hinata to see Oh Comely, and that's at LEAST as racy as this."

"I would love to help you break into a movie, Hanabi, but I've already seen Down the Road. I watched it this weekend."

"With Hinata," Hanabi accused. "Why don't you two ever let me come along, huh? Everybody's always ignoring me."

"I'm not ignoring you, and I didn't see it with Hinata."

"Oh, you were on a date?" Hanabi asked. "That changes everything. Who was it? Ooh, was it Kiba? 'Cause he always struck me as barking up the wrong side of the tree, if you get what I'm sayin'."

"I wasn't on a date," Neji snapped. "I went on my own."

"To a zombie film?" Hanabi wrinkled her nose. "Really? Why?"

"People watch movies on their own sometimes."

"Pornos, mostly." A look of comprehension dawned on Hanabi's face. "I get it. Sage Harlequin IS pretty damn hot. I'd jill off to him... if SOMEBODY would help me sneak into the theater."

Neji grimaced at her. "If that's why you want to go, I'll rent a movie for you. I am not sneaking my underage cousin into a movie so she can do inappropriate things in public."

"Don't you judge me," Hanabi stuck her tongue out at him. "You're the one who goes to zombie movies alone."

"Look, we'll go see a movie together some other time, ok? Now get out of my room," Neji picked up the plant.


"Because I'm leaving. I need to put Albert in better light."

"Albert?" Hanabi raised an eyebrow. "You named your bonsai? You really are lonely, aren't you? Why don't you let me set you up with someone?"

"Not interested in play-dates, Honeybee."

"I know more adults than you. I've also been on more dates than you. What about Sasuke? I've got a friend of a friend who can set you two up. No problem."

Neji shuddered. "Just get out."

— — — — — —

"You're late," Naruto pouted when Neji let himself and Albert into the apartment. The blond was wearing an apron and brandishing a bowl of spaghetti.

"Yeah, I know. Hanabi tried to set me up with Sasuke. Take that apron off, it makes you look like a sea anemone."

Naruto pulled off the frilly pink apron (he had stolen it from Sakura) and set down the pasta. "What, she doesn't think I'm pretty enough for you or something? Did you tell her how much bigger I am?"

Neji put Albert down on the windowsill and grabbed a plate off the counter. "Yes, Naruto, I told my fourteen-year-old cousin my boyfriend's dick size."

"You didn't tell her, did you?" Naruto sighed.

"No! Man, Naruto, I know you don't have any siblings, but surely you have some sense of-,"

"About US, Neji," Naruto fiddled with the pasta server. "You didn't tell her about us, did you?"

"No, I was running late, I didn't want to have a big discussion." Neji bit his lip as Naruto flopped some noddles onto his plate morosely. "Hey," Neji grabbed his hand, forcing Naruto to look up. "It wasn't a good time, that's all. I'll get around to it."

Naruto smiled. "Promise?"

"Would I leave Albert in a broken home?"

— — — — — — – –

"Neji, have you seen my flash drive?" Hiashi, much like his younger daughter, did not believe in knocking. "What happened to your plant? Did you kill it?"

Neji was lounging on his bed, reading All You Need Are Socks and Coffee: The Polly Perks Story, and very pointedly not looking up. "Yeah, the plant's gone."

"You only had it for two days."

"I'm not a green thumb," Neji muttered. "I haven't seen your flash drive. Ask Hanabi."

"... So, I noticed you were out late last night..."

"Yeah. I guess."

"Were you at a party?"


"Were you on a date?"

Neji folded the page down and glared over his book. "Hinata didn't come home at all last night, why don't you grill her?"

"Because she still hasn't come home. I wasn't grilling you, I was just asking. You know, making conversation."

"Well, what did you do last night, then?"

Hiashi sighed. "I stayed up until three trying to balance the clan accounts."

"Wow. Sorry I asked," Neji whistled, going back to Chapter Four: The Duchess Wears Trousers. It must suck, he mused, to get old and have to come up with excuses to be awake after midnight. At three in the morning Neji had been reluctantly tearing himself away from Naruto's passionate embrace to walk across town so he could sleep in his own bed. He noted this as a point for him in the ongoing war between himself and his family, and returned to his book.

— — — — — — — —

Neji's major hobby was birdwatching. Naruto's major stress-reliever was going to the park. Naruto was too loud to be a successful birdwatcher, but they made do.

"Aw, look at that green-headed one! It's trying to get a leg up on that brown one! Ain't that cute!" Naruto tore off a piece of bread from his slice and tossed it at the two birds. "They're ignoring the bread... Hell, I don't blame them... who'd want soggy bread when you could get laid? Go get 'er, little goosie!"

"Those are ducks, Naruto," Neji, crouched awkwardly to avoid sitting in the pond mud, patted Naruto on the shoulder. "Mallard ducks."

"They're cuties," Naruto turned to dab at Neji's nose with his piece of bread. Neji leaned back on his heels, almost losing his balance and falling into the bank.

"Stop it, there are kids in this park."

"Yeah, don't want the little ones knowing about the sexuality of raw bread," Naruto muttered, taking a sullen bite of his bread.

Neji sighed, looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was paying attention, and brushed a finger against the back of Naruto's head, running it through that coarse, split-ended hair of his.

"Hey, the ducks are busy, you want to go back to your place? Check on Albert?"

Naruto tossed another piece of bread into the water. "I was hoping we could stick around here for a while... just you and me and the ducks..."

"And the mud and the little children trying to blissfully enjoy their childhood..."

"What more could you ask for?" Naruto, balancing a little awkwardly, leaned towards Neji, intent on kissing him. Neji leaned backward, and fell into the mud.

On instinct, Naruto tried to pounce on him, and, on instinct, Neji kicked him in the stomach.

"WHOA!" Naruto barely managed to dig his heels into the mud in time to prevent himself from toppling backward into the pond. The ducks took off, squawking. "What was that?!"

"That was me trying to defend myself!"

"Defend yourself?" Naruto grumbled. "Against me?"

"Well, you pushed me in the mud," Neji muttered back, pushing himself up. He winced as the mud squished between his fingers. "I'm never going to get my clothes clean."

"Pushed you?" Naruto exclaimed. "I leaned toward you. I didn't even get close enough to touch you!"

"You knew I wasn't balanced well!"

"You weren't supposed to try to get away from me!" Naruto exclaimed.

"What was I supp-," Neji bit back his retort when Naruto glared angrily at him. "Forget it, I'm sorry. Can I go back to your place and take a bath?"

"I guess we might as well."

Neji let him hold his hand on the walk back, but it didn't make things better.