Author's Notes: Written for the sasunaru_kink meme. Thanks to The Sometimes Hatter for being an awesome beta (like always).


There was a faint line marring his ANBU mask. It was barely visible, just a scratch on the porcelain surface. He rubbed a finger over it, as if hoping to buff it out. The area he touched grew slightly opaque. His fingerprint marred the smooth white surface.


It was late at night when he finally slipped through Konoha's gate. He still had to be debriefed, but there was something he needed more.

His clothes clung to him. The usual white vest was scarlet, his pants stiff with a dry quagmire of mud and blood. Inside the bedroom, he remained standing in the middle of the floor, unwilling to stain the sheets. Exhausted beyond feeling, he swayed slightly. His eyes were half-lidded, his hands limp at his side. His senses, however, remained alert. His nerves were shot. He couldn't stop seeing death threats everywhere.

Hurry up.

The sound of running feet reached his ears. He recognized them, the surge of familiar chakra, but he still fisted a kunai. His eyes bled scarlet.

When Naruto seized the doorframe, his eyes too wide and too blue, Sasuke was about to collapse.

He stepped forward slowly, his hands rising carefully. When his arms wrapped around Sasuke's slender waist, Sasuke didn't know to whom the shuddering breath he felt belonged. He closed his eyes, hiding his face against the tan neck. He inhaled deeply, the familiar scent a welcome sedative.

"Sasuke, what…?" Naruto gasped. Sasuke rested his forehead against the bend of Naruto's shoulder. If allowed, he would fall asleep there.

"It's not mine," he said. He spoke just above a whisper.

"Come on, you bastard." A warm hand cupped his arm and shook it lightly. "Let's get you out of this damn uniform."


There was the faintest cut on his ANBU mask. A straight line from the top of the left eye to mid-cheek. It was shallow, just a mild abrasion, but something had darkened the cool porcelain, like water seeping through it. Scentless, colorless, it was probably tasteless too. But Sasuke could recognize poison when faced with it.


Naruto pulled him into the adjacent bathroom. There, he mechanically stripped Sasuke of the once-white vest, the torn arm-guards, the damaged gloves, the stiff pants, the sweat-soaked undershirt. He maneuvered Sasuke into the shower, stepping in with him. When the spray hit them, Sasuke shook off part of his stupor.

"You're still dressed," he said without inflection. He felt Naruto shrug behind him.

"I'll live," he muttered into Sasuke's skin. They stood for a while under the warm spray. The sanguine water pooled around their feet. Naruto ran the bar of soap over Sasuke's skin, working it into a lather that he quickly rinsed off. Sasuke let him because it was easier than fighting.

For tonight, he was sick of fighting.

It was why he didn't complain when Naruto shut off the shower and wrapped him in a towel as if he was a child. It was why he didn't bother to question Naruto's still sopping clothes. It was why he allowed the other to lead him to the bed, the towel running across his already messy hair, the pale skin, the half-healed wound bisecting his ANBU tattoo.

Naruto's hands were shaking and it took Sasuke a while to realize it was with anger.

"You were careless," he accused.

Sasuke shrugged and the movement tugged uncomfortably at the pink skin around the cut.

"Dammit, Sasuke, stop doing this!" Naruto threw the towel to the floor. "You don't have to prove anything to them! You don't have to prove anything to me!"

Sasuke remained silent, not because Naruto was right, but because he just didn't feel like arguing.

Naruto dropped to his knees in front of him. His mouth hungrily attacked Sasuke's skin, following the lines of old scars mapping Sasuke's chest.


There was a faint scar on his ANBU mask. Not even that had escaped unscathed.

He had been careless, he knew. He could have died, he knew. Vainly, he tried to hide the mask. If Naruto saw it, that would be the end of his peace.


Sasuke leaned into the touch. A hot tongue swirled around a nipple. Nails raked over the bruised skin. Sasuke slipped his hands under Naruto's soaked shirt, pulling it off as he tugged the man up from the floor.

They sank into the bed, an amalgam of limbs and gasps and aches and need. He never knew if he was receiving pain or pleasure from these meetings. The bruises, the scratches, they all hurt gratifyingly. The strokes, the licks, they were satisfying enough to hurt. He buried his face in Naruto's shoulder as the other palmed his arousal.

Naruto paused. When Sasuke glanced down, he saw the blue eyes tracing the largest scar on Sasuke's chest. It was barely visible, the lines so faint they were almost invisible. They were palpable, however, as if millions of tiny needles had embedded themselves horizontally into his skin. It was a mark they both recognized and both hated. Naruto parted his lips against it, his tongue lapping over it as if he could somehow heal the hardened skin.

At an unspoken signal, they sat up. Naruto's legs straddled Sasuke. Clutching him tightly, Sasuke slid inside. Naruto's head fell back, his mouth opening in a round o. Sasuke rested his forehead on the smooth chest. The heat, the clamping walls made his eyes close of their own volition.

Naruto glanced down just as Sasuke turned his face up. Their mouths were so close with every inhale Sasuke took, he breathed in Naruto. Warm. Tasteless.

They didn't kiss. They never had. To kiss would mean to admit there was something else to this strange dance, something frighteningly real.

Sasuke preferred illusions. In reality, it was too easy to have what you wanted torn from you. See the blood bubble up and scab over. Feel the rough scars, the only things that remained.

The only things that didn't fade.


"You were careless." Naruto tossed the ANBU mask on the bed.

"Hn." Sasuke shrugged.

"Let it happen again and I'll give you a scar to be afraid of."

The corners of Sasuke's lips curled in a ghost of a smile.