Sasuke comes awake the instant he hears the front door to his apartment quietly creak open then closed, and he knows right away that Naruto is playing that stupid game again.

He doesn't know where, or when, or especially why Naruto came up with it, but the 'see-how-close-to-Sasuke's-face-I-can-get-before-h e-slugs-me' game is one of the many, many things that makes Sasuke wonder why he and Naruto are still friends. Certainly the blonde has done a lot for him, risking his life several times, putting up with all sorts of physical and emotional attacks and Sasuke's defection and past traumas and just a lot of shit in general. But even friendship has its limits, and expecting someone to put up with warm, sticky ramen-breath coupled with a complete lack of regard for the concept of personal space was pushing them.

Sasuke had expressly forbidden him from ever playing that game again when, last time, Naruto had lost his balance mid-game and consequently ended up introducing his knee to Sasuke's groin. Quite forcefully. Naruto had been promptly and almost reflexively punched in the face in return, and (when he could walk again, and talk in something other than a strangled groan) Sasuke had followed that punch with a few (dozen) more before growling out a threat of much more serious bodily harm should this accident ever be repeated or the game ever played again.

Somehow, he doubts his warning had been paid any real mind; even through the pummeling Sasuke had given him, Naruto had been laughing so hard, he'd had trouble breathing, not to mention standing fully upright.

Sasuke doesn't move from his prone position on the couch until Naruto's whiskered face suddenly lurches into view around the futon sofabed's armrest, blue eyes wide with mischief and the thrill of the game. Once again, the blonde's reward comes in the form of a closed fist, aimed straight at that infuriatingly cheeky grin, but he was expecting it this time and manages to dodge more or less, taking it in the shoulder instead of the face.

And then it's a classic case of Immovable Object vs. Unstoppable Force, only somehow the Object isn't nearly as Immovable as it had thought itself to be, while the Force in question really and truly is Unstoppable. And most certainly a Force, too-enough so that Sasuke knows that being on the receiving end of one of Naruto's all-too-enthusiastic tackle-hugs is as inevitable as the sunrise, the change of the seasons, and Kakashi showing up late for missions. Of course, that doesn't prevent him from putting up at least a token resistance, or straight-arming the dobe during his initial tackle attempt, and never once has he returned the embrace, but he probably doesn't really mind the hugs as much as he pretends to. (Probably. He's not entirely sure on that point himself, though he's more than certain that if he gave even the slightest indication of enjoyment, the hugs would come a lot faster and more frequently, which he definitely does not want.)

After he's hung on Sasuke for an apparently satisfying amount of time, Naruto backs off to meet his best friend's glower with a radiant grin and the announcement that he's brought dinner with him.

Sakura's going to be a little late tonight, and she always has her evening meal at the hospital whenever that happens, so they eat without her, take-out from the Chinese restaurant half a block away, the one Tenten's family runs. They eat outside on the balcony, because while Sasuke likes the food alright, he hates the way the smell of it lingers for hours afterward, and his apartment is far too small for that strong of a scent to be at all pleasant. He only has one chair out there, and it's still wet from a late-afternoon rainshower; predictably Naruto tries to claim it anyway, and ends up completely soaking the ass of his trousers, which he then complains about at length, and at excessive volume, too. Sasuke just rolls his eyes and doesn't say a word, knowing by now that it's not worth it for something like this.

After the dobe finally quiets down, hunger temporarily overcoming his perpetual need to talk, they lean against the railing and look out on the town side by side, both shoveling down hot lo mein, fried rice, and sesame chicken. Naruto insists, as always, that they both read their fortunes out loud; Sasuke doesn't care about this any more today than he ever has, which is not at all, and since it's easier to just give in and read the blasted thing, he does. He doesn't even eat the cookie most of the time, but Naruto is more than happy to oblige, so that's never an issue. 'You will have some wonderful new experiences' his reads tonight, and he pointedly ignores Naruto's crass snicker and loudly-added 'in the bedroom'. He starts to add something that sounds remarkably like 'with Sakura-chan,' but only gets as far as 'with Sak' before Sasuke's heel repositions itself suddenly and sharply on the top of Naruto's foot. (Naruto's fortune, ironically enough, had been 'A closed mouth gathers no feet'.)

After they've finished off their food, they go in and watch TV until Sakura comes over, fighting over the remote, who sits on which side of the futon sofabed, the remote again, the channels they're watching as well as the channels they're not watching, what they should have for dessert whenever Sakura finally gets there, and what they should have for a snack while they're waiting for her to arrive. (Sasuke wins most of these 'fights' by virtue of it being His House, though sometimes Naruto is stubborn enough to resist that line of reasoning and do what he wants anyway. Which is when the 'fights' typically devolve into actual fights, complete with bruises and blood and black eyes and the occasional broken bone and scoldings from Sakura whenever she shows up. Sometimes she even has to break them up, though once or twice she's actually joined in; those handful of fights had ended fast even by shinobi standards.)

Even if he'd seen her earlier that day, on her arrival at Sasuke's apartment, Naruto greets Sakura the same way every time: shouting out her name, regardless of the hour, accompanied by an enthusiastic hurling of his entire body mass in her general direction. He looks, Sasuke surmises with disgust, like nothing so much as an oversized, overexcited, and overly orange golden retriever greeting its long-absent master…though whether the Uchiha is honestly disdainful of the blonde's behaviour, or is actually a little jealous on some microscopic level is anyone's guess.

Sakura's response to this greeting varies depending on a number of very intricate and not always wholly logical factors, but for the most part it's more or less well-received. Every now and then Naruto finds himself in mid-air, crashing through a window, or smashing through a floorboard or two with his face, but generally speaking, he ends up with a hug and a smile and, if he's lucky, a quick peck on the cheek.

Sasuke's greeting is much more subdued, a simple nod or a brief meeting of eyes or sometimes both, but it's really just that much more meaningful, because he takes particular care to always acknowledge her presence, even on the days she's sent Naruto sailing into the nearest wall. She appreciates this, too; the faintly pink tint to her cheeks or the widening of her smile, or on the same type of days she kisses Naruto on the cheek, a grin and a saucy wink.

Once all three of them are there, they each fall to their separate tasks. Sasuke heads to the kitchen to ready dessert; Naruto rearranges the furniture a bit, changing the futon sofabed from its original couch-like form into a bed; Sakura slips into the bathroom to change into her nightclothes, then returns to help Naruto clean up the remains of the 'snack' from earlier and pick the movie for the night. They eat their dessert in the kitchen since the kotatsu table has been pushed aside to make room for the couchbed, and since Sasuke is too fastidious to allow them (more specifically, Naruto) to eat any truly messy desserts anywhere near the white fabric of the futon. ('Dessert' was, perhaps, a misleading term, since it was something like spaghetti sauce and French bread just as often as it was cake or pie or some other pastry-type confection, if not more often, since Sasuke is still not particularly fond of sweets.)

That finished, they take their regular places in the other room; Sasuke is in the middle with the other two curling up close against him, clinging a bit at first while they settle in. The novelty of having Sasuke back still hasn't worn off really, for either of them, and Sasuke knows better than to protest this-he doesn't know if he could stand seeing that sad, rejected look on their faces that he pretends not to notice or care about but really sees and feels all too well. And so once again it's Immovable Object vs. Unstoppable Force, only this time there are two Unstoppable Forces, and it doesn't matter how Immovable the Object is, because he's moving whether he likes it or not. (Or rather the opposite: caught between them, he isn't going anywhere.)

Sometimes they watch the movie, sometimes they get bored or too tired or shut it off, but a few minutes in, Naruto always darts away into the surrounding darkness only to reappear half a moment later, his return heralded by a prodigious rustling of fabric; the television screen is temporarily obscured as he dumps the blankets he's dragged off Sasuke's bed over his teammates, looking far too pleased with himself when Sasuke heaves an annoyed sigh and Sakura protests the blocking of the screen and both thrash about a bit before getting the covers straightened out, a process that is not sped along when Naruto flops down and settles in half on top of, half underneath the blankets.

Tonight is one of the nights they've all lost interest in the film; Sasuke cuts it off with the remote, which he has miraculously managed to keep control of, and without licking it or shoving it down his pants, which are Naruto's chosen methods of achieving the same goal. He stretches out on his back, staring at the darkened ceiling and willing himself to relax and accept the presence of the warm bodies pressing against him. It's easier to do, it takes less effort each time, and today he manages it almost instantly.

These two people care about him, have gone through all manner of hell for him and because of him, and still they want to be with him. They love him. They are his most precious people, held closer and more dearly than his own family, which should feel wrong, he knows, but after so many years, it doesn't feel like any sort of betrayal so much as acceptance and change and a broadening of horizons.

They are all he has, and though he'd never admit it aloud, at times like this he knows that they mean the world to him, and he loves them every bit as much as they love him.

…Still, Naruto reeks of ramen (as always) and maybe a hint of sweat and dirt, so Sasuke turns his face the other way; as expected, Sakura smells of soap and some sort of girly, flowery shampoo, a hint of perfume and a trace of antiseptic from the hospital she works in so often these days. Satisfied with his choice, he breathes in a little more deeply than usual, letting his nose and mouth rest against the top of her head, ignoring (or trying to) the way Naruto's face is pressed into his shoulder, his hot breath tickling Sasuke's neck and leaving a damp spot on the Uchiha's shirt. Sasuke debates pushing him off the bed, but the atmosphere is so peaceful, so restful, and they're both more than half asleep already and his own eyelids are drooping, so he doesn't.

For now. The instant that dobe starts drooling on him (and he will, because he always does eventually), he's going to find himself being violently relocated to the floor. Until then, Sasuke settles for stealing the covers, wrapping them around himself and Sakura, and pressing his cold feet against Naruto's legs, minor revenges that end up backfiring, because they just make Naruto snuggle closer.

Sasuke growls under his breath as he shoves the blonde back a little, relenting on the blanket front so long as it means Naruto isn't trying to spoon him anymore.

Next time, he thinks to himself darkly, just as he always does whenever they have these little sleepovers, Sakura has to sleep in the middle.

But moments later he's fast asleep, his breathing evening out, and Sakura and Naruto both crack an eye and share goofy little grins and squirm a little closer, because they never see him more relaxed than he is at times like this, and regardless of the resistance he tries to put up when these nights roll around, the look on his face right now gives away just how much he really enjoys it all, how much he cares for them and trusts them and honestly just likes being with them and sharing their warmth, because Uchiha smiling.