Dove and Grenade
Written by Venerate
Chapter seventeen: Queer
Naruto woke up at the sound of a door opening. He groaned, shifting to lie on his stomach. His bed was so warm and comfortable, the comforter so soft against his skin. The air was fresh, and he suspected that the window had been opened. When he heard steps in his room, he threw a curious, albeit tired, look over his shoulder.
It was Sasuke, standing there with damp hair and dressed only in a pair of jeans. His pale, toned chest was pleasant to the eye, and Naruto smirked. He really enjoyed Sasuke's body – it was so strong and gorgeous. Different from his own, sunkissed and skinny. He couldn't even call himself slender anymore, because he was nothing but scrawny.
"Morning." Naruto turned around, lying on his back and supporting himself on his elbows. Sasuke walked closer, leaning down with his hands still in his pockets. Naruto grinned widely as pale lips moved against his. This was almost as nice as waking up next to the man. "When did you get up?"
"An hour ago."
"I'm really glad that I don't have to go to school," Naruto confessed and disappeared in under the comforter. It was dark and warm, and he closed his eyes slowly. Sasuke snorted, gripping the fabric and pulling it away swiftly. "Ah, Sasuke!"
"Hm. Get up."
"Why? I want to sleep, you asshole." Naruto sighed, sitting up despite his argument. Sasuke looked rather pleased upon seeing that the other was obeying, holding out one of his hands. Naruto took it, letting himself be pulled up on his feet. Strong, pale arms wrapped around him in a secure and warm embrace. Just when he was close to falling asleep, upstanding, Sasuke decided to speak,
"I wouldn't want you to get bored, so go get ready."
"What? Why, what are we doing?"
Sasuke couldn't help but smirk upon seeing that his lover was still pouting. Whereas Sasuke himself wasn't all that keen upon meeting his brother, he knew that it was a mandatory task that had to be completed once in awhile. Itachi would be glad to see Naruto as well, livening up their usually quiet gatherings.
As they walked inside of the coffee shop, Sasuke put his arm around the blond's shoulders, leading him in the right direction. Itachi was sitting in the far corner, by one of the windows. A thick candle was lit, emitting a soft vanilla scent. The café was more than agreeable – no kids, no women. There were a few couples, but other than that, it was rather empty. Then again, it was past lunch time.
"Sasuke… And Naruto-kun. How are you doing?"
"Fine, thanks! How're you, Itachi-san?"
"Mm, don't bother with the suffix, Naruto-kun. You are with my little brother now." Itachi stood up to pull out the chair next to him, motioning for the youngest man to sit down next to him. Sasuke watched intently as Naruto sat down next to the older Uchiha with a smile. "I heard from uncle Madara that you've been ill?"
"Uh, yeah. I was a bit stressed out and, yeah…"
"Your secret is safe with me."
Itachi raised a hand slightly, gesturing for a waitress to get over to their table. The young woman appeared out of nowhere, smiling big upon seeing the two handsome Uchiha brothers by the table. She introduced herself and recommended the ice coffee and their newly made waffles.
Naruto was just about to ask about the size of the ice coffee when the two dark-haired men decided to voice themselves. The Uchiha voices were dark and low, effectively going over his own loud voice. It was with his jaw in his lap that Naruto watched as Sasuke – once again – ordered for him. Itachi ordered for himself when Sasuke was done, adding that 'Naruto-kun indeed should try the tuna salad' as well.
The waitress left with the same big smile and the orders for everyone before Naruto even got the chance to protest. Then again, he was unsure of what to complain about – he wanted the waffles and the ice coffee, just what Sasuke had ordered for him. He was a bit unsure of the tuna salad, but guessed that he shouldn't disappoint Sasuke's older brother by declining. He sent his boyfriend a glare, trying to send mental insults over the table.
Sasuke failed to notice, instead leaning back in his chair. "How are father and mother doing?"
It was a standard question, which was answered with a standard reply. "I believe they took a trip to Otogakure. Orochimaru is having some sort of bal. He wanted us to attend, but I turned it down."
Sasuke nodded, glancing at Naruto. The blond was busy playing with one of the toothpicks that he had taken from the small pack next to the pepper and salt containers. Itachi demanded their attention again, this time addressing the existence of a certain brat.
"I heard that you have been taking care of Sarutobi Konohamaru, Naruto-kun. How is he doing?"
"You wanna know something funny?" Naruto leaned closer to Itachi, ignoring the other's question completely, a sly grin on his face as if they were school girls prepared to share a scandalous secret. "I fell asleep when Kono came over yesterday evening, and he was hungry…"
Naruto stopped himself in order to chuckle, and Sasuke wanted to throw the candle at the blond. He would never live it down, and he instantly regretted explaining the empty Ichiraku's containers in the garbage this morning. It was an awful experience that he would rather not talk about. He had been nice, and this was what he would pay for it. He should have known that nothing good could have come out from it.
"Sasuke took Konohamaru to Ichiraku's and got him food. How sweet isn't that?"
Itachi blinked; his eyelashes long and dark. He blinked once again before allowing his round lips to form a smirk. "Very sweet indeed. How come you went through all that trouble, little brother? It must be a thirty minute ride, when I'm sure that Naruto had food at home?"
"Yeah, exactly!" Naruto agreed, his nose scrunching up as laughter escaped his throat.
Sasuke sent him a dark glare, wishing that Konohamaru hadn't been hungry when he arrived last night. Even worse was that Sasuke had been forced to wake up the little shit when Ino came back to get him. If that hadn't been the most awkward moment in his life, shaking a little kid to life, then his name wasn't Uchiha Sasuke.
"A valid reason," Itachi concurred seriously. As the food arrived, his narrow eyes didn't leave Sasuke's form. He opened his mouth, asking yet another standard question, "When are you coming back home, little brother?"
Sasuke scoffed. "As soon as you move out."
Naruto looked up, confusion in his blue eyes as he turned to Itachi. "Sasuke practically lives right outside the compound, why does he have to move inside the walls?" The blond received strange looks from the two men, but ignored it in favour of taking a sip from the ice coffee.
"Few choose to leave the compound," Itachi said slowly. Sasuke could tell that his brother wanted to explain the ways of their family, even if it required speaking. "Mostly because of love for an inappropriate person or because of sudden discover of morals. I don't know. Sasuke here left because he wants to play adult. I'm just waiting for my dear little brother to take it to the next step in his game of pretence."
"What's the next step?" Naruto managed between a bite of waffle. Sasuke glanced at the tiny piece of cream that had gotten stuck to his boyfriend's upper lip, forcing himself to concentrate on whatever evil words would leave his brother's mouth. Itachi didn't even look at the blond as he turned to Sasuke with a smirk,
Sasuke sent his brother a dark glare. He didn't even want to know from where Itachi had picked up that idea. It wasn't as if he had enjoyed taking Konohamaru for a late dinner at Ichiraku's. It wasn't as if he had planned it. It just happened – not because he wanted to, not because he was nice and certainly not because Konohamaru was nice. The brat had made it rather clear that they weren't friends.
"Meh, you're such a nice brother," Naruto drawled sarcastically. Both Uchiha men looked at him in surprise. Neither had expected the blond to take Sasuke's side so openly. Most would play neutral in favour of gaining both parties' acceptance. "You shouldn't be so hard on Sasuke, ne? He's not the one living next to his parents."
Sasuke bit his tongue, his dark eyes avoiding looking at his older brother. He had never heard Itachi be insulted by anyone, though he was sure that the reaction would cause chaos in the seven pits of Hell as the inhabitants boycotted the Devil in favour of Itachi. Sasuke blinked when nothing came, and he blamed his drama queen-tendencies for the creative images.
Naruto smiled knowingly, preoccupying himself by mixing the chocolate ice cream with the cream on top of the remaining pieces of waffle. Sasuke smirked as Naruto brought the fork to his mouth, licking it clean. Yum.
Itachi took a sip of his coffee, his dark eyelashes appearing longer as he narrowed his eyes in amusement. "It is indeed lucky that you are attractive, Naruto-kun, because you are rather stupid."
Sasuke, who was sitting on the other side of the table, sent Itachi a dark glare. "Brother," he said warningly. Naruto pouted, but didn't say anything. Sasuke had long ago understood that his lover was used to comments like that, mostly because of his blond moments. Nevertheless, Sasuke didn't want his brother to scare away the young man.
"I apologise for my rudeness, but it appears that you aren't bright enough to see what is right in front of you. Oblivious, I believe the word is." Itachi put a pale hand on the frowning blond's arm, smirking at the expression. "Don't worry, Naruto-kun. I'm sure that Sasuke will leave the clan that raised him in order to play house with you."
Sasuke didn't like the way Naruto's cheeks turned rosy in humiliation.
Itachi handed his younger brother a car key as they reached the exit of the coffee shop, a satisfied smirk on his face. Sasuke accepted it, his scowl not dissolving. He put his arm around Naruto's shoulders, silent comfort as they walked out of the café. Itachi walked down the street with a two-fingered salute, disappearing into the crowd before his little brother and the blond could reach the parking lot.
Sasuke growled, his hands clenching into fists upon the sight of his, once silver, jeep. The older Uchiha had apparently tried the vehicle in a terrain much different from the city roads. It was almost completely covered with dirt and mud, turning it into a brown car. Naruto bit his lip, trying to refrain from laughing. He had to admit that it was a rather funny prank.
"The fucker drove it through the forest!" Sasuke walked up to the filthy car, his dark eyes narrowed in shock and despair as he spotted a scratch. The scratch was almost white, leaping from the back to the front door. He opened his mouth, no sound coming out as he ran his big hands through black hair. "I'm going to kill him."
Naruto almost flinched at the serious statement, startled upon hearing such a sentence leave his lover's mouth. He reached out, embracing his furious boyfriend from behind, leaning his forehead between Sasuke's shoulder blades. He could hear the heartbeats thumping loudly through Sasuke's body, closing his eyes as the older man tried to find his voice.
Naruto sighed as he started caressing Sasuke's flat stomach. "Well… It's just a car."
It was apparently wrong thing to say, as Sasuke grabbed his thin wrists and yanked him away. Naruto yelped when he was pushed into the car, and he pulled his arm out of Sasuke's grip. It reminded him of their time in Itachi's car, on Sakura's driveway, but this situation was very different. No arousal was tinting the air, the sun beaming down on them as ignorant people passed on the sidewalk twenty metres away.
"It's not just a car," Sasuke informed him coldly. "This is one of my top priorities – I've been taking care of this piece of sh–" Sasuke paused himself, gritting his teeth as he tried to control his anger. "– I've fought to keep this free from damage in a whole year–"
"Are you being serious?" Naruto blinked, his eyes wide as he took in what his lover said. It sounded awfully ridiculous in his ears. Of course, he didn't have a car to host any similar feelings to, but it was just a vehicle. A thing.
Naruto stared up at the man that had him trapped, pushed up to a muddy jeep. He could practically feel the wet dirt stick to his clothes as he fidgeted slightly. Dirt and mud was no problem for him – he was too used to be outside with Konohamaru and play on the ground. His blue eyes took in Sasuke's angry expression.
Even when experiencing anger, the dark-haired Uchiha looked gorgeous. Naruto couldn't help but think of what Shikamaru had said a few weeks ago, his eyebrows furrowing in annoyance. He could hear his own voice, saying, 'so what if Sasuke was a little spoiled?'
So what? Sasuke was being irrational, not spoiled. This was a whole new level of spoiled – the kind that Naruto had only read about in Sakura's gossip magazines when a famous diva was interviewed. It would have been amusing, had Sasuke not looked so solemn. Naruto licked his lips, the situation abruptly turning to discomfort. He squirmed a little, putting his hands on the Uchiha's hard biceps, trying to push him back.
Sasuke didn't budge, instead narrowing his eyes. "You're not taking me seriously."
No. Naruto felt his stomach churning as panic coiled in his chest. He was a shitty liar, and he didn't want Sasuke to dislike him. He wanted Sasuke's praise. Their relationship was too young for a fight. A fight about Naruto taking Sasuke more or less seriously. Their relationship was too young, hanging on a thread after Konohamaru had been acknowledged as Naruto's charge.
Now was the time they would both find out how reliable that thread was.
They had yet to speak to each other, but Sasuke had already assumed that Naruto wanted to come with him to the apartment. It was in tense silence that they walked up the stairs. The air seemed thick around them, making it hard for Naruto to breathe. It was just as embarrassing and awkward as it sounded – they were walking stiffly through the corridor to the door, Sasuke not making a single sound as he unlocked his thick door.
Sasuke opened the door, stepping aside for Naruto to enter before him. Even now, when they hadn't spoken for half an hour after their fight, Sasuke was acting like a gentleman. It should have been a little unnerving – it probably would have been, had it anyone else. This was Sasuke, Naruto thought, spoiled and stupid and angry Sasuke. His gentleman acts fit his character all too well to make Naruto nervous.
After taking off his shoes, Sasuke disappeared into the kitchen. Naruto stared after him, smacking his lips to himself as he tried to decide what to do. The tension remained, despite the fact that the Uchiha wasn't even making a sound in the kitchen. Naruto smacked his lips again, even though he knew that the soft 'pop' sound wouldn't ease the tension. If anything, he was making it worse.
Leaving his shoes as he had kicked them off, Naruto took his cellphone and entered the living room. He glanced at the beautiful family photo on the wall, wondering if he should take one with Konohamaru. The idea was crushed immediately, as the photograph would only confirm the lack of parents in the boy's life. Poor Konohamaru, who had to live with such a bad role model. Poor Konohamaru, who had to live with him.
"I see what you're doing. Stop building it up."
Blue eyes met dark ones, and Naruto had to fight down the urge to smack his lips. Just to tease the man that he was so angry with. Stupid, stupid Sasuke.
The older man took two steps up to the sofa, and for a second, Naruto almost thought that Sasuke would say something degrading and mean. Something similar to what Itachi had said, perhaps to verify what had been stated. That he was in a phase. That he was in the phase of playing house.
Or worse, that he didn't want to play house.
Naruto stood up, unconsciously heading towards the bathroom, when a strong arm wrapped around his waist from behind. He inhaled deeply, thinking about the words of the therapist back at the clinic.
'You need to find a new way to vent.'
Unfortunately, things are never that easy. Old habits die hard, and Naruto managed to get out of Sasuke's cold embrace just in time before running off to the bathroom.
Sasuke stood, frozen, in the living room as he listened to the sound of his boyfriend throwing up.
Sasuke was standing in the bathroom, three o'clock in the morning. Naruto was sleeping heavily in the sofa to the sounds of some sitcom reruns. The blond had fallen asleep there after the shower he had taken. Sasuke knew that they hadn't spoken for nine hours. A personal record, unless he counted the time they had been apart because of Konohamaru.
His head was aching and his body was tired, but every time he tried to fall asleep, he would wake up right back again. It felt lonely lying in his double bed, with no one to hold. Fragments of their fight echoed loudly in his head, accompanied with the fitting laughter coming from the television. Naruto had snarled and yelled, even cursed. Sasuke hadn't been a saint either, but he had kept his voice as controlled as possible.
"Are you really being serious?"
"I'd never think that you were stupid enough to value a stupid car higher than your friends and family!"
"Shut up. You know nothing."
"Exactly, why would you tell me anything? I'm just a poor little boy who doesn't have the time or the money to care about a small fucking scratch on my million dollar car! So, excuse me for not finding you rational right now, but–"
The fact that Naruto had thought of his reaction as silly made his blood boil. His knuckles almost turned white as he clenched the bottle of sleeping pills in his right hand. He avoided looking at himself in the mirror, terrified that he would see the needy, frustrated monster that was hiding within him. The needy monster that craved for appreciation and approval.
Naruto was making things that were so obvious in his life complicated. He was sure that Naruto's difference was still a thing to love, but at the moment, he was practically ready to start trashing things. Luckily enough, the small part of him that was still calm told him that he would wake the blond up if he started trashing his apartment.
Sasuke couldn't help but find it slightly humorous that he was still being considerate enough to keep quiet when Naruto was the one causing this entire disturbance.
Opening the bottle of pills, Sasuke poured the pills into the toilet bowl. It had taken quite some time before deciding whether to take it or not. He had been in the bathroom for approximately half an hour. Dropping the bottle, he felt a little lighter after his decision. He sighed through his nose as he adjusted his junk through his boxers. He turned the lights off and made his way to the bed.
Naruto's side, the left side, was empty. Naruto's side, he thought again. He couldn't remember when the left side had started to belong to his boyfriend. He stared at it, long and hard, trying to get a grip of himself. When it didn't work, he had to keep a furious growl from bubbling up his throat. He practically stalked into the living room, not bothering with being quiet or stealthy. Instead, he walked straight up to the couch and turned the television off. Naruto didn't even stir.
Still irritated, Sasuke shoved his arms under Naruto's lithe form, picking the younger man up with less care than he had done the previous times. He almost hit his knee on the coffee table, but escaped injury as he smoothly stumbled a little instead.
Embarrassment for his sudden clumsiness fuelled his anger, and he didn't care if Naruto looked gorgeous while sleeping. The younger man didn't deserve such thoughts at the moment. Sasuke managed to get them both to the bedroom intact, Naruto snoring.
He put his lover on top of the comforter, childishly hoping that the blond man would be cold when he woke up. Sasuke then climbed in under the covers, closing his eyes as he lay with his back against Naruto. The soft snores were soothing, as was the knowledge that, when he woke up, Naruto would be there.
His anger was almost – almost – forgotten when he woke up the way he did, in the middle of the day. The clock had just passed twelve, and the sun was shyly peeking inside through the half-closed curtains. He blinked several times, only to close his eyes and relishing in the feeling of Naruto's fingers on his back.
He had long ago understood that Naruto didn't carry grudges, but this seemed a little more serious. Perhaps the blond would even demand an apology, if the way his blunt fingernails randomly joined his caresses from time to time was any indication. Sasuke sighed as Naruto's nails raked over his pale skin, only for his warm fingertips to sooth the place where he had just clawed.
Sasuke didn't know whether to pretend to sleep and relish in this moment, or to turn around and swat the hands away.
"I know you're awake," Naruto mumbled behind him.
Well, Sasuke thought, at least it made his decision much easier.
"We don't have to talk or anything… I just… It's just…"
The sheets shuffled slightly as Naruto came closer, nuzzling his nose against Sasuke's back. The Uchiha kept silent, unsure what would come out of his mouth. Did Naruto really think that he was spoiled? Irrational? Never before had he associated himself with that word. He inhaled as much air as possible through his nose, taking in the scent of fresh laundry and his own shampoo.
"I'm, y'know, sorry for snapping and that… perhaps, if you just told me–"
"Tell you?" Sasuke turned around, bumping his nose against Naruto's in the process. The blond was closer than he had thought. Instead of backing away, he let the tips of their noses be connected. "Perhaps," Sasuke mocked, "if you started telling me, I would tell you. Don't you think?"
Naruto looked away, staring up at the ceiling with his beautiful eyes. "Ask me. Ask me then, you fucking asshole."
Sasuke bit his tongue, preventing himself from cursing. There was a moment of silence as both complemented what had been snarled out. He took a deep breath before obeying Naruto's little wish. "Why do you throw up."
"…I don't know." Naruto shifted again, apparently slightly restless, his forehead coming in contact with Sasuke's pale chest. The Uchiha automatically started playing with strands of golden hair, the anger still sneaking around inside of him made him tug at the strands a little harsher than intended. Naruto didn't seem bothered, instead continuing slowly, "It just happens. I feel sick and…"
The answer wasn't nearly as good as Sasuke had wanted. With his Uchiha genes, he felt the strong need to improve the answer. So, instead of asking another question, Sasuke elaborated Naruto's answer with his own thoughts.
"You're too emotional. Like a woman."
Now, that answer didn't suit Naruto. The blond didn't move much, instead taking his lover's nipple between his teeth threateningly. Had it been any other time, the situation would have been a pleasant turn on. As it was now, neither viewed the teasing act as sexual. In fact, Sasuke actually feared that his nipple would be bitten.
"I still think you're acting rather childishly," Naruto said, his lips moving over the nipple he had nibbled on.
Sasuke snorted. "Coming from you, that doesn't mean much."
Naruto crawled on top of him, straddling his dark-haired lover's hips. Sasuke's eyes raked over the tanned body, wondering how he didn't notice before. It was rather obvious, what Naruto tried to battle, when looking at the suffering body. Naruto wasn't a skeleton just yet, but he wasn't far off. His ribs, collarbones and hipbones were poking out through tan skin, and the scarred cheeks seemed less round now than when they first met. The Uchiha put his big hands on Naruto's thighs, caressing slowly.
"For how long?" Sasuke dreaded the answer, but he didn't look away. He wanted to see if Naruto would lie or tell the truth. For a second, he almost felt guilty for thinking that his younger lover would lie to him. Naruto didn't do that sort of thing. Naruto wasn't a liar.
"For… Since I, uh…" Naruto ran his tongue over his white teeth, as if the enamel would answer for him. "Since Asuma died. Somewhere around then, when everything became so fucked-up."
Sasuke didn't ask anything more. He was sure that Naruto didn't want his questions or inquires. When the blond was ready, he would let Sasuke know. The older man knew that his boyfriend was tired of such things, of telling when he didn't want to. The answers could wait for a little while longer.
They stayed silent; Naruto staring at Sasuke's unmoving lips, his hands sprawled out on the pale chest under him. Sasuke breathed through his nose, almost afraid to make any sounds that would ruin the moment. What kind of moment it actually was, he wasn't sure. It wasn't sexual or romantic, but a rather honest and truthful scene. He would curse himself if a sudden movement scared his younger lover away.
Naruto, however, didn't find the moment as pleasant as Sasuke, instead quite intent on getting over with it. Like a band-aid, he told himself in the same voice he used when helping Konohamaru taking off a plaster on his scraped knees. Like a band-aid.
"I ask you one question, and you ask me one. We'll take turns," the blond man offered generously and slid off the pale body. He grabbed the covers that had become a wrinkled mess around their bodies during the night, pulling up to cover himself.
Usually, the Uchiha didn't enjoy talking. He didn't find pleasure in a fine discussion, nor did he gain anything from conversing. When Sasuke nodded slowly, accepting this chance, Naruto continued, "Why don't you live at the compound?"
Sasuke blinked once, twice, staring up at the ceiling. "I don't want to work there."
Naruto tugged a little at the covers, tilting his head. Blue eyes were fixated on pale lips, still. "Hey, what is it that your family does, real–"
"One question," Sasuke reminded harshly. He saw, through the corner of his eye, how the kissable lips formed a pout at the answer. Instead of acknowledging his own rudeness, Sasuke asked slowly, "Why do you want to become a nurse?"
"I just want to help." Naruto looked away, huffing when the air of disbelief circled around the Uchiha. It was the official, practiced answer that Sasuke didn't want. "I can't… you know, I can't pass the physical exams to become a firefighter."
It was obvious, once Sasuke gave it some thought. Naruto wanted to help people, because the med-student was so different from any other person that he knew. No one in Sasuke's small circle of acquaintances felt the need to assistant or aid someone besides immediate family. Unless it involved money, then his clan was ready in a millisecond. Naruto was so different, and Sasuke was amazed over his own reaction to it. Over how much he adored the differences.
Another silence hung over them, floating in the bedroom. Sasuke wasn't bothered, trying to figure out what kind of expression his boyfriend wore. It wasn't until Naruto had gotten comfortable under the covers, his lanky arm wrapping around Sasuke's wide chest, that the med-student spoke. The smaller man mumbled, but Sasuke could make out the words through pouted lips.
"Why do you even bother?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
Blue eyes met dark, dark ones. "No."
To Be Continued