Title: Everything For You
Rating: T (wtfux? T?! yes, it's rated T :P)
Written For: Michelerene
A gift for my sissy Mich, for putting up with my emo-ing and just being the sweetest ball of warm sunshine that I ever did meet, te amo corazon 83
This is based on a chain e-mail I got once, it's fairy-tale...ish...there's a castle involved? ._.
Warnings: SasuNaru, Shounen-ai, language.
Disclaimer: UM Sasuke would NOT be being such a prick right now if I owned it ;___;
Beta: Until Master-momma frees herself from the crushing jaws of real life, Jelp-love has been kind enough to look over this for me :]
Everything For You
There once was a kingdom ruled by a beautiful queen.
Although known to have a bit of a short temper, the queen was a generous, intelligent woman and a strong and sensible ruler. She was loved greatly by her people and was revered throughout the land.
But before being a queen, she was a woman, and before even that, the queen was first and foremost, a normal human being.
She was lonely.
Sakura Haruno had wanted a husband, a king for her land, for quite some time. But having her hands full with quarrels with a neighboring nation kept her from fulfilling such personal needs.
However, now that a treaty had been established between them, the queen found herself with time to seek a worthy companion.
So she put forth a message throughout her own land and those beyond its borders, notifying everyone of her search for the perfect king, and more importantly to her, a good spouse.
Little time passed before she was flooded with responses. Suitor after suitor came to her doorstep, offering her their charm, their land, their riches.
Yet to each one of them, Sakura gave a small, rueful smile and shook her head in declination.
None of these men could offer her something that she did not already have in abundance, and they showed little potential for true companionship.
She'd nearly given up on her search when one day, her captain, a strange man with silver hair spiked clear to the sky and a black patch over his left eye, came before her throne with surprising news. He bowed and said, "My queen, there is another suitor here to see you."
Sakura's emerald eyes half-hid behind her lids was clearly not appeased by this message. "I believe I'm quite finished with them, at least for today. Please, send him off with my apologies."
Kakashi lifted his head a bit, an amused smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "But my queen, it is a peasant who waits at your door."
Sakura jolted to alertness, her gaze widening. "A peasant you say?" She lifted a pink brow as the man nodded. "Well, that is certainly odd," she murmured. All the candidates up until this moment had been noblemen, wealthy merchants or even kings, but not one man of low status.
What on earth did a commoner think he could offer her that a king could not?
This piqued her interest. "Very well," she chimed. "Allow him in."
Sasuke Uchiha stood frozen at his own doorstep, eyes locked in a dead glare at the wood that lead into the small cottage as he fought down the ridiculous urge to wring his hands with nervousness.
He had decided (or rather, just could not take hiding it anymore) that today was the day, the day he would tell his best friend, his most trusted person, Naruto, that he was in love with him. That he had been for quite a while.
Both their parents had died when they were still children, taken by an illness that had plagued the kingdom, and ever since that time, they were all each other had. They had begun living together and supporting each other shortly after the loss. And blood could not bring them closer than they were now.
But Sasuke had always felt a little more attracted to his friend than society deemed appropriate. With his shockingly blue eyes and blond hair, and such a charming (if at some moments, idiotic) personality, he was such a striking contrast to Sasuke himself, who had pale features, save his dark hair and eyes, and a more aloof persona that Sasuke could not remember a time when he hadn't been engrossed by Naruto. But of course, he'd never had the courage to say such a thing.
Lately, being around Naruto had become far more frustrating than it used to be now that he was at the young, ripe age of seventeen. Sasuke could no longer stand beside Naruto without having his fingers itch to touch the other boy, could no longer keep a steady heartbeat when Naruto hugged him, or joked about their "close" relationship, sleep with the knowledge that Naruto was sleeping not five feet from himself.
Sasuke could no longer live with Naruto; at least not without telling him how he felt. He'd go insane.
After weighing his options, Sasuke had decided that even if Naruto did not harbor the same type of love he did, there was no denying that Naruto did indeed love him. And Sasuke could not imagine that Naruto, so kind-hearted and comfortable with him, would treat him any differently knowing Sasuke's true feelings.
Yet it didn't make this any easier.
Sasuke took another deep, calming breath before reaching for the door, when it suddenly swung open, making him flinch as Naruto appeared as his face burst into a beaming smile. "Sasuke! There you are! The hell have you been?"
"Just…just out, walking," Sasuke stammered awkwardly, slightly stunned from Naruto's sudden emergence.
If the stutter was obvious, Naruto did not show it. He smiled wider and grabbed Sasuke's wrist, yanking him inside the house and shut the door.
Sasuke's heart beat wildly in his chest as Naruto kept both hands on his shoulders, his blue eyes scrunched and brilliant as his smile.
Sasuke swallowed thickly.
How anyone could be so damn beautiful was a question that forever escaped him.
There was a pressure against the back of his lips, and Sasuke opened his mouth, "Naruto, I-"
"I have something to tell you!"
They both froze, though that silly smile wouldn't fall from Naruto's face.
Sasuke could see the excitement practically radiating from his friend in golden waves, and he didn't see the harm in holding off his confession a few moments longer. He'd done it for over a decade. "You first," he offered with the slightest tilt of his lips.
Naruto did not waste a second with his response, "You know that contest the queen is holding, right? To find a husband?"
Sasuke's small smile vanished, his eyes taking on an apprehensive stare. "Yes…what of it?"
Naruto let go of Sasuke and pounded his own chest. "I'm going to offer myself to her and become king!"
And just like that, Sasuke's world shattered beneath his feet. "What…?"
Naruto nodded hastily. "I know I can't give her what all those other guys can; I don't have riches or land, but I've thought of something that no stuck up noble would ever be willing to do for her."
Sasuke felt his stomach twist and churn; he could not wrap his mind around this. "I…was not aware, that you were in love with the queen," he replied slowly, dejectedly. His mind was so blank with shock that he was unable to find the strength to hide the misery in his words; it was highly doubtful that he was even aware it was there.
Naruto was normally very keen on picking up Sasuke's emotions, no matter how hard the bastard tried to hide them. But in his excitement, he couldn't really think past the wide grin on his face. So he unknowingly and unintentionally twisted the knife in Sasuke's side, "I could be. I admire her strength as a ruler, and I think she's very beautiful. I'd lay my life down for her. Sounds like love, doesn't it?"
Sasuke cast his eyes down and shook his head slightly. He couldn't remember ever feeling so sad and just…miserable, utterly fucking miserable, not even when his parents had died. This was a new kind of pain, something black and searing that wrapped around and constricted his very core. He didn't want to cry or complain; he just wanted the ground to open its wide, gaping mouth and swallow him up.
In fact, he stared at the ground, expecting it to happen, but his eyes flew back up when Naruto grabbed his shoulders again and shook him once. "And when I become king, Sasuke, the first thing I'm gonna do is appoint you as head captain. So we'll stay together, and you can put your fighting skills to use!"
Sasuke felt a whisper brush against his blank mind, quietly urging him to say thank you or to point out that Naruto was an excellent fighter as well. But as much as his lips mutely opened and closed, all Sasuke could see was this picture of Naruto with the queen, and himself in her shadow as she stood between them. His worst fear had been that Naruto wouldn't reciprocate his feelings; he hadn't even considered the possibility that those feelings would be directed to someone other than himself.
"Have a chance?"
Naruto's voice pierced through Sasuke's thoughts like the stab of a needle through cloth. He licked his lips and blinked a few times, trying to bring a devastated world into focus. "What?"
Naruto tilted his head, his smile dwindling the tiniest bit as he squeezed Sasuke's shoulders. "Do you think I have a chance?"
"I…" Sasuke cleared his throat and raised his hand, closing his eyes as he rubbed his temple with two fingers. He needed to compose himself, he knew he was acting strangely and Naruto would-
"What's the matter with you?"
Sasuke moved Naruto's hands from his shoulders and tried to force a smile, but the best he could do was a thin-lipped line. It was better than a frown. "Nothing," he murmured.
Naruto's eyes narrowed and he grabbed Sasuke's wrist, holding it firmly in the warm closure of his fingers. "Don't lie to me, Sasuke."
Sasuke snorted and glanced away.
What was it that people always said about love? That you could put up with anything and be happy, as long as the one you love is happy?
He grit his teeth. What a load of crap. He would most certainly not be happy if Naruto was happy with the queen. If anything, he'd be tremendously pissed off.
Naruto raised a brow at Sasuke's odd behavior. He tugged at his wrist. "Sasuke! I'm talkin' to you, look at me damn it!" he demanded.
Sasuke did not look at Naruto, and tried to convince himself that it was simply because he refused to obey him. "Naruto, you said it yourself, the woman has kings offering themselves to her. Do you honestly believe anything you do or say to her could outdo their offers?"
Naruto cocked his head as his brow crumpled. "You know I wanna prove you wrong, but at the same time," he squeezed Sasuke's wrist, a very stern look on his face as Sasuke finally looked back at him with a solemn frown. "You know no one's opinion matters more to me than yours. So…is that what you really think?"
Sasuke's eyes slowly let up on their glare. He exhaled heavily through his nose and stared plainly at Naruto, honest and vulnerable. "You're such a persistent little idiot; a herd of kings couldn't stop you." He jerked his wrist out of Naruto's grasp and used that hand to shove Naruto back with two fingers against his chest. "Only I can do that."
Sasuke turned away from him and failed to hold in a little gasp of surprise when Naruto suddenly grabbed him from behind in a tight hug, pressed his warm lips to the cool skin of Sasuke's ear and murmured one word that made Sasuke's gut twist until it felt like nothing but a hollow space in the center of his body.
"Thanks." Naruto meant it. There was never anyone who could piss him off and yet encourage him quite like Sasuke could; it had always been that way, and Naruto wondered if Sasuke was aware of just how much he affected him… and if he affected Sasuke in the same way.
Sasuke let out another derisive snort and shrugged Naruto off of him; the last thing he needed right now was his touch.
Funny though, because that was exactly what he wanted.
He walked over to his bed and sat down, rested his elbow on his knee and his chin in his palm as he looked off to the side, his expression more blank than anything else. "I'll be here if you come crying back."
"Well don't get too comfortable," Naruto said, his boots tapping softly against the ground until Sasuke felt the bed dip under his friend's weight when he sat beside him. He slung his arm around Sasuke's neck and smiled, "Cuz' we'll be lounging around in the castle corridors soon enough." Naruto curled his arm in so Sasuke pressed closer, punching Sasuke's effort to push him away straight in the gut. "Wasn't there something you wanted to tell me, too?" he asked, bright, excited, and pathetically oblivious.
Sasuke released a drawn out sigh. "It was nothing," he said. He tried to look at Naruto, to hold his gaze and affirm his words, yet found his eyes falling to their feet on the floor as he mumbled, "Nothing at all."
The bigger surprise to Sakura than the fact that there was a peasant trying to win her heart was the fact that the peasant was…attractive. He seemed very close to her own age and was a far more pleasant sight to behold than all the middle-aged men who'd come to her so far. She tilted her head and studied the young man beside her captain, though found the task a tad difficult as his body was bent in a deep bow. She drummed her nails against the arms of her golden throne and spoke up, "Raise your head, sir."
Naruto lifted his head a little and glanced at the man beside him.
Kakashi smiled at him and nodded in approval, chuckling quietly when Naruto smiled back at him.
Standing to his full height, Naruto turned his attention to the queen. "Thanks for letting me in!"
Sakura jumped slightly, startled by such a direct greeting.
Frowning at her reaction, Naruto's eyes lit up and he quickly added, "Ah, your highness." He heard Kakashi beside him, trying valiantly to contain his laughter.
Sakura blinked and slowly tucked her hair behind her ears, feeling strangely unnerved by the young man. "…Yes," she responded quietly. "What is your name?"
Naruto grinned and wrung the bottom of his shirt around his hands. "Naruto Uzumaki."
The queen smiled. "Naruto Uzumaki," she echoed, taking in his appearance. Her gaze roved over his dark breeches and white, split-neck tunic, but they lingered on his face. His eyes were a startling shade of blue, the only thing drawing her attention away from them was the unruly blond mess on his head. She hummed appreciatively and sat straight. "I understand you are here to try and win your place as my husband."
"Well I…" Naruto's words dissolved into a breath as the queen held up one slim finger to silence him.
Sakura's brow arched slowly as she stared down at Naruto. "Tell me, do you have any land?" She lowered her hand.
Naruto looked from side to side, not entirely sure if he was allowed to speak.
Kakashi was still chuckling beside him.
Naruto cleared his throat and licked his lips before admitting, "I don't."
Sakura gave another glance over his clothes. "Well you are obviously not wealthy, or are you so humble that you prefer to live as a commoner?"
Naruto frowned silently for a few moments. He rubbed the back of his neck with an uncomfortable expression on his face, the queen's words not sitting well in the pit of his stomach. "I…don't have a lot of money, no."
Sakura made a small, non-committal noise and laced her fingers over her lap. "I see. Then tell me, Naruto, for I am very curious, what have you to offer me?"
Naruto's eyes remained on her, and with only a second of hesitation, he opened his mouth, "I love you."
Sakura's eyebrows both shot up before slowly coming together to form a crease on the smooth skin of her brow. "Is that so?"
Naruto nodded once. "Yes, your highness."
"Surely you know this is not the first time I have heard such a proposal? How am I to know that your words ring with any more truth or lie than any other suitor I've had stand before me?"
Naruto opened his palms, holding his arms out with a confident smile. "Because I'm willing to prove it," he proclaimed, arms falling once more to his sides.
"How so? You have no-"
"Not with material things. I will prove my devotion for you by remaining on your balcony for one week, without anything but the clothes on my back."
Beside him, Kakashi abruptly stopped chuckling, and Naruto sent him a smug look out of the corners of his eyes before turning them back to the queen. "I am ready and willing to do this for you."
Sakura sat shocked on her throne, it took her a while to straighten her shoulders and respond to such a ludicrous idea. "Well," she began, "I must say, Naruto, your offer is by far the most intriguing one of I've yet to hear, as well as honest."
Quite a stretch of silence passed after those quiet words, heavy and thick with anticipation, until Sakura's lips curled into a small, pleased smile. She stood up from her seat, the silky pink material of her gown cascading about her slender frame. "Very well, Naruto, you've convinced me. If you are certain you wish to do this, I will allow it. And should you still be on my balcony by the stroke of midnight on the seventh day," Sakura glided down the five steps that kept her separated from her captain and the peasant, the metallic click of her heels echoing through the room as they struck the marble ground . There was a sudden hush when she stopped in front of them, that pretty little smile still on her mouth. "I will marry you," she finished finally.
Naruto bowed deeply, the soft spikes of his hair falling around his face as he hung his head, shadowing his eyes and tickling his cheeks. "Thank you, your highness. I won't let you down."
Sakura nodded. Her eyes flicked to Kakashi, who seemed every bit as amused by the young peasant as she was.
The man leaned down so he could peek beneath Naruto's bangs, his visible eye scrunched in a tiny crescent. "And when do you propose to begin this arduous trial?" he asked.
Naruto turned his head to the captain and shot him a grin, one crammed to its edges with a cocky certainty that Kakashi had only ever seen in his strongest soldiers. "What better time than the present?"
Sasuke rubbed his thumb over the smooth, red skin of the apple in his hand, a morose expression on his face.
He was standing in what was more or less the center of the town bazaar, under the canopy of a fruit stand, basket in one hand and apple in the other.
It had been three days since he'd last seen Naruto, and truth be told, he missed him terribly. The days seemed bland without his presence, and Sasuke spent each and every dragging minute thinking about him. Why had Naruto been away for so long? Did the queen accept his proposal? If so, why hadn't there been an announcement made to the kingdom?
If so…why hadn't Naruto returned for Sasuke?
These questions latched themselves onto every thought in Sasuke's head, consuming him and frustrating him because he knew there would be no answers. And every time the possibility that Naruto had already forgotten him bubbled up, Sasuke would violently shove it back down. Naruto was not like that. Naruto wouldn't lie to him, and though Sasuke repeated this to himself again and again, he could not completely wipe away that tiny spot of doubt.
He'd decided to try and distract himself by getting out of the house, where the only thing for company was his mind. Yet here he was, outside, surrounded by hundreds of people, loud and bustling around him and still, he did nothing but worry over Naruto.
Sasuke squeezed the apple, breaking its skin with the tip of his nail and pulling it back to reveal the whitish fruit beneath. He couldn't help but wish that it was the idiot's face; he deserved it for making Sasuke lose sleep over him like this.
"You haven't heard? He's been there for three days!"
Sasuke's neck nearly snapped with the force he used to jerk his head to the side, eyes landing on the vendor, a large man with a white mane and red lines running down his cheeks, conversing with a customer who's dark, spiky hair was pulled back in a fashion that very much resembled a pineapple.
Sasuke frowned and set the apple in his basket, subtly moving closer to the two men, tilting his head slightly to listen more clearly.
The customer's eyes were narrowed in minimal interest. He leaned forward a bit and asked, "Who is he? What kind of fool would go through with such a ridiculous idea?"
The vendor shrugged. "Some crazy blond peasant. I'm not sure anyone knows his name."
Sasuke had to put in a conscious effort not to stagger in shock. He quickly closed the distance between himself and the men, his heart thrumming erratically. "Excuse me, I couldn't help but…" He swallowed as he was pinned under curious gazes. "What is it that you're discussing, exactly? Does it have to do with the queen and her search for a husband?"
The customer closed his eyes and cocked his head to the side. "Apparently, some idiot commoner is sitting on the queen's balcony, starving himself to prove his love for her."
Sasuke's mouth went dry, his stomach giving an uncomfortable flutter of nervousness. "What?"
The vendor nodded. "If he survives the week, the queen has agreed to marry him."
Sasuke's fingers curled into his palms, his nails biting deeply into his skin. His teeth grit as his eyebrows bunched into an angry wrinkle, breathing becoming a heavy rush of air from the flare of his nostrils.
The dark-haired man snorted. "Why would anyone want to go through something so troublesome? Being a king and a husband is nothing but endless work and-"
"That fucking idiot!" Sasuke suddenly hollered, nearly shoving the other customer out of the way as he began hastily picking fruits from the stand and tossing them into his basket.
Kakashi slowly raised an eyebrow at the young man before him. "His brother," he parroted, the tone of his voice insinuating that he did not believe Sasuke.
But Sasuke nodded anyway, a full basket of fruit and bread on his arm and a canteen of water slung around his chest. "Yes, I'm his brother."
Kakashi looked him up and down and chuckled. "You do not honestly expect me to believe that? You're as different as night and day."
Sasuke growled under his breath and held his arm out as he explained, "Then I'm a close friend, all right? It doesn't matter, I need to see him. What he's doing is-" his lips abruptly snapped shut. He glared at the captain for a few tense moments before snorting. "I'm not going to stand here and explain anything. I need to see him."
Kakashi sighed, his head lazily lolling to the side as he closed his eyes. "You know, I'm not supposed to let commoners inside without her majesty's expressed permission. However, at the moment, she's resting in her chambers, and you do seem very desperate to see your friend." He opened his eyes and smiled, looking to Sasuke's basket. "And that apple is looking quite delicious."
Sasuke narrowed his eyes and reached for the fruit, holding it out to the other man with a scowl.
Kakashi swiped it out of his hand stepped aside. "Keep it short."
Sasuke spent about ten minutes navigating the halls of the castle, even asking a guard here and there for a point in the right direction while thinking that that stupid captain was given much more trust with who he allowed inside than he was deserving of.
When he finally reached the open doors to the balcony, Sasuke pulled aside the dark red drapes hanging between them, squinting one eye at the brilliant sunlight that fell over him.
He let the curtains fall back into place behind him and blinked a few times to clear his vision, nearly dropping his basket at what he saw.
Naruto was sitting on the floor, his eyes closed as he leaned his head between the empty space of curved, thick stone bars. His face was thinner, cheek bones more prominent and a striking difference from the fleshy, full globes they'd been a few days ago.
He didn't even bother to glance at the rest of him before falling to his knees beside Naruto and shaking him roughly by his shoulder. "Naruto! Naruto, wake up!"
Naruto's eyes flew open, falling startled on Sasuke. He sat in stunned silence for a moment before suddenly smiling and scrambling to his knees. "Sas-" the name broke off in a series of coughs, and Sasuke frowned as he rubbed Naruto's back soothingly.
Naruto licked his lips and cleared his throat, using one hand to rub it as he looked back up at Sasuke. "Heh, sorry, haven't spoken in a while." He slowly reached up and wrapped his arms around Sasuke, pulling him close. "I missed y-"
Sasuke shoved him off and grabbed him by his shirt, jerking him forward and yelling in his face, "What the hell are you doing, you little idiot?! Look at you!" He let go of him and cupped his face, smearing his thumbs over the dark bruises under Naruto's eyes. His own nearly closed with the painful clench of his teeth, his right hand moving to trace his fingers over the chapped skin of Naruto's mouth. "Look at you," he said, though this time in less of a demand and more of an awestruck whisper.
A light flush filled Naruto's face, and he gently pushed Sasuke's hands away. "I'm fine. What are you doing here?"
Sasuke shook his head and picked out an orange from the basket, shoving it into Naruto's chest harder than he'd meant to. "Eat this!"
"Oof! Hey!" Naruto closed his fingers over Sasuke's wrist and glared at him. "No."
"Naruto! This isn't a joke! And that wasn't a goddamn question!" He jerked his hand up and pressed the fruit to Naruto's mouth, but it was smacked away and rolled across the floor, slipping between the bars of the balcony and thumping on the ground below.
"I can't, Sasuke, I promised the queen-"
"I know what you promised!" Sasuke shouted, anger spiking around the edges of his words. "What the hell is matter with you?!" He tore the strap of the canteen off his chest and popped the cap off so it clattered across the floor and stopped at Naruto's feet.
Naruto grunted when Sasuke tried to force him to drink. He grabbed Sasuke's arms and pressed his knee into his stomach, turning his head away from him. "Sasuke! Cut it out! I can't!"
Sasuke was surprised by Naruto's strength, despite how weakened he looked. He threw his arms to the side to get Naruto's hands off him, the water from the canteen sloshing out of its mouth. He dropped it and grabbed Naruto's face between his fingers, his eyes darting all over his friend's features. "Naruto… I can't sit by and watch you kill yourself for her."
Naruto drew in a few deep breaths and shoved Sasuke's hand away. "I'm fine, I can do this, get out of here, Sasuke." He gasped softly when Sasuke grabbed his arm and tugged him forward.
"Maybe I should rephrase that," Sasuke mumbled, his head hung so his bangs shadowed his eyes. "I won't sit by and watch you kill yourself for her. You're coming home, with me."
Naruto's jaw set stubbornly. Sasuke's fingers around his arm were reddening his skin with the intensity of their grip. "I'm not killing myself. And I'm not going anywhere."
Sasuke felt like a ball of ice had settled in his stomach. He let go of Naruto and shot up from the floor, throwing his arms out in frustration. "So I should just leave you here then, huh? I should let you starve yourself for some woman-"
"She's the queen-"
"I don't give a fuck who she is! You're such a – Naruto, you're – " his words fell off with an irritated huff, eyes closing and fingers coming up to press into his lids.
Naruto blinked slowly and frowned. "If I do this, I'll be king, Sasuke; I'll marry the woman I love."
Sasuke cringed, a visible twitch flashing in his jaw.
"Why are you trying to stop me? Why are you doing this?"
Sasuke let out a startled laugh, clenching his fists. "You're really asking me that, Naruto?" He crouched down, looking Naruto dead in the eye as he whispered, "Are you sure you want the answer?"
Something frightening sparked through Naruto's body as he held Sasuke's gaze while he said that.
Eye contact was a powerful thing; so many unspoken things could be expressed through it. Naruto and Sasuke had locked eyes before, many, many times. But there was something different this time, something so devastatingly powerful that Naruto had to tear his eyes away from Sasuke's before his heart burst right out of his chest.
But there Sasuke went again, grabbing his face and forcing Naruto to look at him. Without warning, Sasuke moved forward, holding Naruto firmly as he pressed their mouths in a warm, chaste kiss.
Naruto had no time to react beyond widening his eyes, as just as quickly as the kiss had happened, it was over. Sasuke pulled away with a quiet smack. He let go of Naruto and pushed his fingers to his chest in a gesture Naruto knew too well, giving him a stern little push. "That's why, you goddamn idiot."
Naruto watched, bewildered and silent as Sasuke left, tearing his way through the curtains.
Minutes later, Naruto was still sitting that way, though his hand had come up, the pads of his fingers hovering just over his lips, as if he was afraid to actually touch them.
What the hell had just happened?
"Your friend just left immensely irritated."
Naruto started and looked up, finding Kakashi standing in front of him with a half-eaten apple in his hand.
The captain stared down at him and took another bite out of the fruit. "Mm – he was fairly red in the face too." He pointed to Naruto with his forefinger, the rest of his hand still curled around his apple. "A lot like you are right now."
Almost reflexively, Naruto wiped his arm roughly across his cheek, a failed attempt to wipe the flush off his face. "He's just…a jerk," he mumbled quietly.
Kakashi laughed under his breath and glanced at the basket of fruit Sasuke had left behind, sitting innocently by the half-empty canteen. "I trust you didn't eat any of that?" He twirled his wrist and allowed the weight to apple to draw his hand back. "The trial will be null and void, and that would be a pity after how long you've stayed here. I admit I'd like to see you through it to the end."
Naruto looked at the basket. He wiped his brow with the heel of his palm and snorted. "No," he muttered. "…Get it out of here," he said, turning away.
"Can do!" Kakashi happily picked up the basket and the canteen before leaving without another word.
Naruto glanced over his shoulder, seeing the drapes swish into place, before looking back to the slivers of color between stone bars.
"Far be it from me to question you, my queen, but it doesn't seem fair."
Sakura narrowed her eyes at the raindrops pattering against her window. "But he said no water, Kakashi," she pointed out stiffly.
Kakashi nodded, tapping a peach against his cheek thoughtfully. "I understand, but he's braved it out there for five days. And this isn't within his control. He deserves some leeway."
The queen turned to him with a sharp look, causing the captain to snigger and bite his peach. "That is of course, my own personal opinion, her majesty must do what she feels is right."
"Hm," Sakura stepped beside him."I suppose you are right that it isn't within his control. I should let him know that I will not consider this unfortunate weather interference with his proposal." Her gaze flitted to the peach. "Kakashi…every time I see you lately, you're eating some fruit." She raised her brow expectantly, stating her question without voicing it.
Kakashi shrugged and held the peach against his lips with a small smile. "An apple a day?"
The queen rolled her eyes. "The doctor might just pay a visit to examine that questionable head of yours." She left the chuckling man to visit the one on her balcony.
Naruto's head was tilted back, his eyes closed as rain droplets trickled down his face in cool, wispy rivulets. They tickled down his cheeks and soaked in between the cracks of his lips, plastered his shirt to the defined contours of his body, thinner than it used to be.
It wasn't a cold, spiky downpour; it felt more like light, clean kisses, but it was refreshing all the same. The water seeped into his mouth, beading on his tongue and making him sigh. His clothes clung to him like a second skin, as if afraid to let go. As if it couldn't let go.
It all made him think of Sasuke.
His eyes opened, hand coming up to shelter them from the rain as he turned to the queen. "Your highness," Naruto greeted, voice scratchy and unused. He coughed and stood up slowly, using the balcony edge for support and struggling a bit from the effort, feeling heavy and tired and weakened. But nevertheless, he gave her a wide smile. This is it, he thought to himself.
Sakura smiled back at him. She was standing behind the red drapes, but had parted them to look at the peasant. "I simply came to tell you that, you may remain for the two days you have left. I've decided to overlook the rain, as it wasn't in your control."
Naruto's lips gradually turned down at their corners, until he was frowning deeply. "Oh," he whispered, staring at her through the thin sheet of rain, his brows drawn in disappointment. "I see… thank you, that's…kind of you."
The woman nodded and left him.
Naruto huffed and fell heavily to the damp ground, wincing as something dug into the bottom of his thigh. He moved his leg and spotted the canteen cap that Sasuke had left behind.
Naruto hesitated, then diligently reached for the tiny thing and picked it up. He stared at it as it sat in the center of his palm, the memory of Sasuke's kiss flashed through his mind, quick as the flutter of a flame, and burned into him just the same.
He curled his fingers around it, tightly, securely, until its edges felt like they were cutting into his flesh. Then he pressed his fist to his chest and let his head fall back, pretending the touch of raindrops were familiar fingertips on his skin.
The night of the seventh day drew an enormous crowd around the castle. Nearly every person in the kingdom waited eagerly beneath the balcony, where the crazy peasant all the rumors had focused on for the past week would complete his trial. And, more importantly, where the new king would be named.
Naruto was on his feet, his hands were clenched on the balcony's edge, aiding in keeping him up.
His stomach was in ropes, his heart was hammering as he looked over all the people who had come to watch him finish.
Yet, he was utterly exhausted, barely able to keep his eyes open.
An uncomfortable pressure built in his ears as the string of excited chatter slowly died down, an unnatural hush falling over the mass as they all turned their heads up to him.
A pregnant, unfurling silence consumed the land, and then, the first toll of a church bell in the distance.
Naruto watched with dark eyes as the crowd erupted into cheers and praise. He sighed heavily through his nose and turned around, flinching slightly to find the queen behind him with a brilliant smile on her lips. "You did it!" she exclaimed, stepping forward and placing her fingertips on Naruto's chest.
He stiffened. Her fingers there, on that spot, made him very, very uncomfortable.
"I must confess," Sakura said, raising her voice slightly so he could hear her over the crowd, "I had my doubts, but you did pull through. And tomorrow, we will-"
"No," Naruto cut her off sternly, not pausing to hear her response as he moved past her.
Sakura fumbled slightly from shock, turning quickly to Naruto with a flush on her cheeks. "Where are you going?" she asked, desperate and confused.
"Home," Naruto muttered, and disappeared behind the curtains.
Sasuke sat at his and Naruto's small dining table, doing what he never did in public, but what he was certainly best at: moping, about everything.
But mostly, at the moment, about how the man he loved was celebrating his love with the queen, while the whole damn kingdom watched.
So he was quite startled when he heard a soft knock on his door.
Sasuke squinted and got up, opening it and failing to hold in an alarmed gasp.
Naruto stood before him, looking the very definition of fatigue. But of course, his dry, chapped lips were stretched in a cheeky grin.
"Heh," Naruto breathed. "Shoulda seen the way the crowd parted when I walked through. You'd think I was the king or something." He didn't wait for Sasuke to answer as he practically collapsed onto him, throwing his arms around his friend's neck and finally opening his hands, allowing the cap to drop from his grasp and skitter across the floor, a red circle imprinted on his palm.
Sasuke grunted as he held Naruto up, though more from surprise than from his actual weight. "Fucking moron," he scolded, nearly dragging Naruto inside and throwing him onto his bed.
Naruto moaned in utter bliss as he curled into the soft bedding, but he didn't get to enjoy it for long, as Sasuke suddenly jerked him back up and began tugging at his damp shirt.
"Hey, hey," Naruto mumbled, tired and sluggish.
Sasuke succeeded in getting the shirt off and tossed it away. "It's wet, you'll get sick, idiot." He reached behind Naruto with both hands for the blankets, grabbing them and bringing them up to wrap around Naruto's shoulders.
Sasuke bit the inside of his cheek as his eyes actually fell onto Naruto's exposed torso, seeing the faint outline of his ribs. He stared for a moment before tugging the blankets tighter around Naruto, then promptly lifted his hand and smacked him lightly across his head.
"Ow!" Naruto cried as Sasuke walked away from him. "The hell you bast-"
"Here," Sasuke said when he came back, shoving a loaf of bread against Naruto's face.
Anger forgotten, Naruto fumbled for the loaf and wasted no time in ravenously tearing it to shreds with his teeth like a starved animal. He nearly choked in his haste and Sasuke had to smack his back several times to get him to cough up what he didn't chew properly. And he actually let out a little yelp of joy when Sasuke left once more and returned with a cup of water, which Naruto downed in one gulp, washing down the bread.
"You probably want more," Sasuke drawled while turning away to get more food.
Naruto flinched and dropped his cup, hurriedly grasping for Sasuke's wrist and tugging him back. "No no!" He yanked Sasuke down onto the bed and hugged him, instantly warmed with the feel of Sasuke against his skin. "It's good for now," he murmured.
Sasuke stayed quiet for a few seconds, even reaching up slowly and wrapping his arms around Naruto in a gentle squeeze. But then rather abruptly, he shoved him off and scowled at him. "So when is it happening? Why didn't you eat your first meal with your new wife?" he asked bitterly.
Naruto squinted at him. He reached up and touched Sasuke's cheek, then dragged his fingers over his lips, igniting a red tint to Sasuke's features. "You didn't think I'd just forget about it, did you?"
Sasuke did not answer, and his eyes darted away from Naruto, not feeling half as confident as he did when he had kissed him. "That doesn't answer the question," he bit out.
Naruto's hand fell away, and he crossed his legs on the bed while looking at Sasuke. "I…I haven't been completely honest, about why I did what I did."
Sasuke raised a brow as he slowly turned back to Naruto. "What do you mean?"
Naruto frowned and looked off to his side. "The queen thought she was testing me, but really, I was doing my own test." His eyes flicked to Sasuke. "Before you came, I did think I was in love with her, and I wanted to see if she could love me just as much. I was starving myself for a week there, to see if she cared enough to stop me from doing so. But she never did, and anyone who's willing to watch someone suffer for their love, isn't deserving of that love."
Sasuke's stomach knotted as Naruto looked down and picked at a loose thread from the blanket, smiling.
"But you," he turned his eyes to the ceiling and gave a little laugh. "I've never seen you so pissed off!" Once again, he looked at Sasuke and grinned. "You really do care about me, huh?"
Sasuke flushed, embarrassed. He snorted and closed his eyes. "Dumbass, what is it exactly that you're saying here? That you're not marrying her?"
Naruto chuckled and shrugged the blanket off. "C'mere," he ordered.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed, suspicious as he leaned away. "Why?"
Naruto lifted his hands and wriggled his fingers happily. "Just c'mere."
A moment of hesitance and Sasuke gradually leaned toward him, only to have Naruto grab him and haul him in for another hug.
At first, Sasuke rolled his eyes and loosely hugged him back. But he stiffened when Naruto's hands fell down to the small of his back, slipping under his shirt so he was very much in contact with Sasuke's skin, soft and so wonderful under his touch. He pushed Sasuke forward, until their chests were pressed so tightly that it was a little difficult to breathe, until Naruto's breath was warm and real against the shell of Sasuke's ear.
"The only reason I stayed after you came...the only reason I would have still married her, was for you, Sasuke. We could've been royals. I just, you know…" Naruto frowned and licked his lips, feeling Sasuke's fingernails bite into his flesh as the muscle brushed against him as well. "I wanted to be able to give you something…that you deserved," he whispered.
Sasuke swallowed audibly, slightly distracted by the soft, strong hum of Naruto's heartbeat against him. "I don't need all that, you idiot." He held Naruto tighter, hardly believing that he could finally be with him here, like this. "You know I don't."
Naruto smiled. "Yeah," he said softly, pulling away from Sasuke. He picked up Sasuke's hand and pressed a kiss against his palm, then sighed into it with complete contentment. "I guess I do."
Special, fluff-tastic ending for Mich! 8D Lubbu bb, hope you liked it X3
Everyone else too! ^^
Sorry about the lack of...fucking, but sex in this fic would have been...just for the sake of sex, it didn't fit :/
Reviews ftw plz? |D
Also, I'm quite disappointed that no one has chosen "awesome song" for my poll! XD C'mon now, without that song, there would be no Love Bites...well, there would be, it just wouldn't be named that, pft, it'd probably be named "MakeDamnSure" since that's the second song that inspires it, but that would turn people off XD
Anyway, my GOAL is to have LB updated next, since based on the poll, it does seem like a few people are pretty anxious for it, I'm sorry it's been so long :(