Only in the Night

He was lying again; sneaking around because he was too proud to admit to himself what he really wanted until it was too late. On the other side of town she was probably making up an excuse. The only one of the three who was honest was waiting for a pair of liars.

He knew Naruto forgave them every time for not choosing him over nobodies; forgave them for only being his in the night; forgave them again for leaving him in the morning…and he did it without even seeing it as an issue of forgiving—he just accepted it happily, as if it was a necessary condition of being them.

And Sakura never really felt guilty, like he would have expected from her. He'd learned that hurt had turned her cold and locked her inside herself, like him. He hated himself for making her like he was. He suspected that she didn't realize how sorry he actually was for doing that to her, but Naruto did, and he just felt sorry for both of them.

And he…

He heard footsteps coming up on his right, but pretended not to notice. The moon was almost full and threw her shadow in front of him, but he still didn't acknowledge that she was coming. Finally, when she was right next to him she whispered his name just like she did as a little girl: "Sasuke-kun."

This was the only time she did—when they met in the night walking to Naruto's, once they were there he was "Sasuke" again. "Sasuke-kun" was only for them in the dead of night, all alone, walking down the streets, as if the faint whisper was an eternal tribute to the night he left her.

"Sak'ra," he responded letting his elbow knock into hers.

They walked the rest of the way in silence. Comfortable but loud silence…The space was saying everything and nothing for them and they were content with the familiar tension of it. It was the kind of silence that comes with knowing things about each other the other could never vocalize about themselves. She knew him better than he did; he knew her better than she did. They were under each others' skin, inside each others' heads, and burrowed into each others' hearts. They were so deep into themselves and each other that they sometimes didn't know how to come out, or how to bring the other out, they only knew how to dig deeper and deeper until they were naked and covered in sweat and so close they stopped feeling where one body began and the other ended. It was the apology neither of them could ever say: 'I'm sorry I left you'; 'I'm sorry I didn't stop you.'

Naruto was different though…He was the sunshine to her moon and his black hole. He brought both of them out of themselves, made Sakura laugh and Sasuke smirk and lifted away the weights they indulged in each other.

They were stupid to live without him…And they couldn't even do that properly, so here they were.

As they walked Sasuke was always slightly in front of Sakura, but in the last few steps as they approached the door to Naruto's little apartment he slowed his pace ever so slightly and Sakura moved ahead of him just a bit, letting her fingers brush his so lightly he wasn't sure if they really had. She reached out for the knob and turned it slowly and quietly, already anticipating the picture laid out for them once the door was open:

The door was unlocked, the lights were off and Naruto was asleep on the couch with a bottle of unopened vodka waiting on the coffee table. No shot glasses, no cups. They drank it straight from the bottle.

Sakura looked at him as they both stood in the doorway, so close they were almost touching, careful not to for reasons he had no desire to examine. Her eyes fluttered from him to Naruto and she softly stepped inside, walking on her toes, gently, trying not to make too much noise. Sasuke found it pointless; she'd be waking him in a few seconds anyway.

Sakura knelt down beside him, putting a gentle kiss on each eyelid. Naruto's eyes didn't open but he smiled and reached his arms out, asking her to come in.

The moonlight shone through the window on to them, bathing them in an eerie glow that always reminded him of the way she looked when he left her on a bench in the middle of the night when they were children. Right now though, she was awake, and sturdy hands were wrapping themselves around her waist, blue eyes were shining up at her, in a sleepy and honest haze, with an ease, vulnerability and confidence Sasuke wished desperately he could understand. But he didn't, so he sat back and watched from the corner as Sakura grabbed Naruto's hand and pulled him up, so gently, as if he were a little child.

Sasuke always felt a little strange watching them like this…It wasn't that he was uncomfortable or felt out of place…It was just the tenderness that came from Sakura when she was like this was such a contradiction to the Sakura that seemed to want to tear them apart on the sparing grounds. He and Naruto were consistent...They more or less always treated each other and Sakura the same wherever they were, even in the night…She was different though, she was so tender and gentle with them when they slept, or as they were falling asleep. He thought, as he always did, that she looked a little bit like a mother. That was the one private observation he would never share with them…He was afraid it might change something.

"Mmm Sakura-chan," Naruto whined, nuzzling into her lap as he resisted her attempts to coax him up, "I'm tired."

"Do you want to just sleep then?" She asked kindly, her hands on his forearms going a little lax, as if she were really going to let him just fall back asleep.

Sasuke knew this game: Naruto always had an option, but Sakura always knew which he would pick…She had this thing about Naruto never feeling obligated; he suspected this had something to do with him.

"No," Naruto replied. He stretched, scratched the back of his head gave Sakura one last little sleepy grin before turning and looking straight at Sasuke standing in the corner. He always stood in the same spot until beckoned forward, and Naruto was always the one who did it. The habitual "Teme," was all it took.

It was a summon, a command, a challenge and a slightly desperate request all in one, but never a question…Even if he didn't come they'd get him quickly enough anyway, and they both knew it.

So Sasuke moved forward, his body so fluid it seemed that he floated. Sakura stood up and watched him as he came, as beautiful and unsure as she always looked. No matter how many times they did this, she always gave him that look, like for a moment she wasn't sure he was real or that he'd be there in the morning. It hurt him. But he never looked away because it was only in that moment that he acknowledged to himself he deserved that punishment for leaving her.

Naruto sat up lazily, elbows resting on his wide spread knees with a crooked relaxed smile on his face.

Sasuke used to not see the hurt underneath Naruto's demeanor. But Sakura was honest when she was drunk, and she made sure to point it out to him the one time he didn't drink with them. Neither of them really remembered, but he did, and so it was the other punishment he bore.

"So how're the wives?" Naruto asked, as he pulled Sakura into his lap and Sasuke sat down on the other end of the couch.

They both hated it when he mentioned their significant others.

"He's really not that feminine…He's not even pretty." Sakura sighed.

"I just meant he was pussy Sakura-chan, not that he was pretty." Sakura rolled her eyes but didn't bother to contradict him. It was true…That was why he barely had her interest to begin with, and it was why he never stood up to her and never questioned what she did or who she was with. And maybe it was why he was delusional enough to not see how uninterested she was…Maybe he was gay.

He shifted around to face Sasuke, twisting Sakura around until she was nestled between his legs, her head on his chest. "What about you Teme? Having babies and holding up your end of the deal?"

"Chh," He sneered, "She's still only fifteen, just like when you asked two days ago."

"Fifteen is old enough to conceive," Sakura responded, staring at some far off point of the wall, her tone of voice attempting to be devoid of emotion.

Sasuke knew this game too, and as much is it annoyed him she didn't need him to play it very often, so when she started it, he played:

"It's not safe, she's very small, and civilians are still children in mentality at that age. I'm not sure she can take care of herself, she definitely can't run a household, and I wouldn't trust her with my children. I haven't touched her and I don't intend to. I married her so that I could come back…She just happened to be the girl who was deemed most appropriate to breed with. It is a political marriage."

That was the longest speech he ever gave, and it wasn't the first time they heard it. But Sakura needed to hear it, and Naruto needed to know that she'd heard it, otherwise he would worry about her...It was easier to just make them both happy with a few heart-felt sentences…And those heart-felt sentences he was able to say, the real meaning he had to hope Sakura could read between the lines because he couldn't say it directly.

"I don't want to talk about this," Sakura told them, still not meeting either of their eyes. She leaned forward, Naruto's arms automatically letting her go with a trust Sasuke never failed to notice. After all, she's not the one who left.

She unscrewed the vodka bottle, ripped out the guard with her thumb, and brought it to her lips, throwing her head back and waiting for her mouth to burn. She could drink faster than either Sasuke or Naruto, although she never called them on it.

"Ah, Sakura-chan, I want some!"

Naruto didn't wait for her to put it down though, as soon as she began to lower the bottle he snatched it from her and took a swig…More show than actual amount, but he was a light weight anyway and they all knew it.

He passed the bottle back to Sakura, who took another drink and passed it to Sasuke. He took it wordlessly and drank, slower and more carefully than the other two. He detested the taste, but liked the affect; once it started to work it couldn't be tasted anymore anyway.

Alcohol was never something he found appealing…And he'd never had any until the first time he found himself in Naruto's apartment in the middle of the night with them. Alcohol made you clumsy, forgetful, vulnerable…He couldn't be vulnerable for anyone but them, and even then he would never admit it.

He held the bottle at its neck from the tips of his fingers, his elbow resting on a cushion and his legs spread out until his feet rested between Sakura's and Naruto's thighs.

They sat like that for a minute. Naruto kissed the back of Sakura's neck slowly and softly. Sakura held Sasuke's gaze, and he held hers. They blinked occasionally. It wasn't a challenge, like it may have looked to an outsider, it was the constant reaffirmation they always need from each other: Yes, she was still hurt but she forgave him; No, he still hadn't forgiven himself so he would let the guilt consume him in these moments and feel all the hurt he deserved. And she understood.

She knew he was feeling a slow dull ever present self-resentment that twisted into hurt, but she didn't try to stop him or take the burden from him like she would with Naruto; she let him feel it because at least then she knew he felt something. Besides, they both knew he would try to apologize for it again in an hour the only way he knew how: Drunk, without words, and by silently begging her to hurt him—scratches, bites, hard enough he could feel even under the physical numb that over came with ten shots—because physical repercussions were easier to processes than emotional.

He tipped the bottle toward her after a few moments and she took it without looking away from him. Her eyes followed him all the way until they closed as she downed more of the bottle. Naruto took it from her again. He was silent now; when they needed silence he gave it to them, when they needed it broken he broke it, because he was as selfless as they were selfish.

She leaned forward and folded her legs under her, moving slowly, but neither cautious nor confident: honest. Naruto let his fingers softly trail down her back as she moved away from him. She moved forward on her knees until they were pushed right up against Sasuke's crotch and he could feel the heat coming off her. She stayed like that, for a good minute, arms at her sides like dead weights, her hips a little forward as if aching to touch him, her head level so she was looking down into his eyes. He didn't move at all except to follow her gaze.

Naruto watched them. They were beautiful. He always loved the way they looked when they got like this. He knew he could touch them however and wherever he wanted. He knew they wanted and needed him. But right now they were in a world that belonged only to them. A world they created without him even realizing they were creating it; a world they started years and years and years ago. This world was the reason he always felt like they had secrets he didn't know about when they were children; it was the reason Sakura knew Sasuke was leaving that night; it was the reason she spent years crying; it was the reason she lost everything she was outside of it when they were like this.

He knew he could never come into it. Not because they didn't want him to, but because they simply weren't capable of granting him entrance. When you create something unconsciously and without anyone's consent no one has control over it. It's just what it is. They trusted him enough to let him see them like this. The most vulnerable and honest and confused either of them could ever be. More vulnerable than Sasuke when he fucked him senseless, more vulnerable than Sakura all the times he held her as she cried over all the years he'd known her. This was a raw honesty neither Sasuke nor Sakura understood, but each other caused it, and they trusted Naruto enough to let him be the gate watcher of their universe.

He took another drink. The heaviness touching them filled the room and he drank in their beauty with the vodka, content to wait for them to turn to him. They always did; they were both creatures of habit and tradition. And so he watched them, pale and delicate and tragic, bathed in moonlight like creatures out of a dark fairytale: The fallen angel and her demon lover; the emotionally raped princess and her sadistic kidnapper; the broken and the breaker; the broken and the broken; the redeeming and the redeemer.

Sakura leaned down until her lips hovered millimeters away from Sasuke's. They could feel each other breathe; their eyes were almost closed, their lashes almost brushing the other's cheek. She waited for him to reach up and he always took his time about it as if he wasn't sure what to do. He breathed in deep and placed a hand on her hips, firm and strong and forced her forward. Their lips crashed into each other, hard and passionate, but with an amazing lack of noise or extra movement. They didn't say a word; their bodies always said it all for them.

Naruto smiled and took another drink.

Sasuke let go of her hip, the indentions of his fingers leaving a red mark in their wake and Sakura collapsed backward as if she was a puppet and all her strings had been cut loose.

Sakura fell back into Naruto, twisted around, kissed him hard and quick and took the bottle back with her eyes still closed. She took another gulp and her eyes got watery from the burn and she looked like she might gag for a second, but she swallowed hard. She swung herself back up in a fluid motion that Sasuke's eyes followed with a calculation that made it ethereal and Naruto's followed with pure appreciation. She passed the bottle on to Sasuke like it was part of a dance, and as soon as he took it she settled sitting up with her legs curved to her chest, painting a picture of a deceptively small and vulnerable looking figure, like a glass doll, set directly between them.

He eyed it distastefully but took a sip anyway.

"That's pathetic Teme," Naruto grinned.

Sasuke glared at him, stuck his nose up, put the bottle to his lips, threw his head back and tried to take a swig like Sakura. He brought his hand down too quickly though, the burn and watery eyes winning out, sheer willpower alone making him actually swallow the unusually large amount already in his mouth. He leaned forward and slammed the bottle back down on the table.

"Well that's a bit better!" Naruto told him, mirroring his movements to grab the bottle.


Naruto took a swig and leaned over to kiss Sakura, who responded with an easy smile and a hand in his hair. It was so casual and trusting and friendly; Sasuke used to hate them for it—now he just hated that he would never have it as a consequence of his choices.

Naruto pulled back from her and lifted the bottle up to his lips again, falling into her lap as she shifted to accommodate him with it like he was a baby. She made a little amused noise…it was too grown up to be a giggle but too soft to have a proper definition. He grinned and handed her the bottle. "Love you Sakura-chan."

"I love you too, Naruto." So much tenderness and ease…So different, Sasuke was reminded again, than with him.

Of course they both knew she didn't love them the same; she loved Sasuke more intensely but she trusted Naruto with her heart in a way she could never trust Sasuke again. They each got half of her. Sometimes they both wanted the half the other got.

3 Years Ago


She froze, not able to believe her own memory.

"Sasuke-kun," she whispered in response, barely able to breathe. The feeling of dread, anticipation, and pure adrenaline was clawing at her, reawakened with more intensity than any déjà vu she'd ever experienced. If it didn't hurt so much she wouldn't believe it was real.

And then he was right behind her before she could regain enough control of her muscles to turn around. She could feel his breath on the back of her neck. Every instinct in her was torn between fighting and fleeing and turning around as fast as she could and grabbing him just to make sure he couldn't leave.

He slowly and quietly rotated his way around her body to face her. When he stood still in front of her, their faces only inches apart, she moved her eyes up to meet his…Dark, grey, almost emotionless eyes—eyes that hinted at the slightest bit of fear.

Her hand came up to hover right next to his cheek, afraid to touch him but drawn like a magnet to do so. She didn't know why he was here after all this time. She'd been out for a walk in the middle of the night, and she didn't know why she felt the need to. Here was her reason though: Sasuke, standing right in front of her.

"Hello." He said, clearly and quickly…he was considering pretending that none of this was out of the ordinary.

Coward, she thought.

"What are you doing here?" She asked harshly, his attempt at an unaffected tone slapping her back into reality.

He stared at her for a moment, he wasn't sure if he would answer…He didn't have to, he could just bypass her…Then again he could have just bypassed her altogether, but instead he saw her walking and chose to recreate this moment, only half aware of what he was doing until he'd already done it.

He closed his eyes briefly, his posture tensing, "Getting some things."

It was a lie; he didn't know why he was here.

She laughed. She was laughing. Bent over, laughing.

He stood and watched her; he'd never considered this as possible reaction, granted he hadn't stopped to consider any of the consequences of talking to her, but nowhere was this in the realm of possible reactions by the little girl he knew.

She calmed down and stood back up, her voice exasperated and disbelieving she asked, "You came to get some things?"

He nodded, ever so slightly, in response.

She smacked him.

Part of him had seen it coming, but part of him hadn't considered in within the 'realm of possible reactions by the little girl he knew'. If he'd cared enough he would have been baffled…as it was he was only curious. The slap had hurt, but in a stinging superficial way…Nothing like the damage he'd seen her do. Why she didn't just break his jaw he didn't know, he'd let his guard down enough. Was she trying to test him?

He stared at her. She stared back.

Finally, she sighed, "What could you possibly need from here?"

"That's enough for you, Dobe." Sasuke mumbled, taking the bottle from Naruto, noticing a blond hair getting caught on the side of his pants as Naruto twisted to bury his face in Sakura's stomach.

Sakura smiled and ran her fingers through his hair, slowly and to a silent rhythm.

"Sakura-chan, you're so squishy and comfortable." Naruto purred, nuzzling his nose into her belly button. It felt good to him, her warmth and softness, and the pure femininity of her body.

Sasuke smirked, he already knew what her reaction would be and he could picture her face, quirked eyebrow, slight twitch at the corner of her mouth, pursed lips…He didn't need her suddenly tensed body posture and annoyed tone of voice to see it. This was Sakura that was easy and comfortable, the Sakura he could predict, the same Sakura from when they'd been twelve years old—The Sakura ready to punch Naruto for saying something stupid.

"Squishy?" She asked, annunciating slowly, the pitch of her voice rising gradually throughout the word.

"Mhmm," he purred happily, nuzzling deeper into her stomach, entirely unaware he'd said something to incite her half-hearted wrath.

Her eyebrow twitched, just like Sasuke predicted…And yet, suddenly there was something in him that didn't want to let the innocent image before him be ruined; it was a strange desire but one he didn't want to question.

He closed his eyes and tipped the bottle toward Sakura. She caught his eye, hesitated for a moment, and then took it, let out a little huff, flipped her head back only to have her bangs fall right back in front of her eyes and took a drink.

Sasuke smirked slightly, amused by his little victory, and held his hand out to take the bottle back. She obliged easily, and he carefully placed it on the side of the couch, under the arm between the leg and coffee table.

3 Years Ago

"Sakura-chan!" She spun around, already bracing herself for being picked up and swung around. Sure enough, she only had a few seconds before Naruto ran up to her and all she could see was a peripheral view of his messy hair and almost untied headband as the wind was knocked out of her.

"What's going on?" She asked, slightly apprehensive since she hadn't told him about seeing Sasuke last night, and afraid of how his answer might affect her already unstable emotional state.

"Kakashi-sensei said Sasuke went and talked to him last night!"

'So that's what he was doing,' she thought, trying to quench the simultaneous feelings of fear, elation and its corresponding premature heart-break arising within her.

"Oh…But we haven't heard from him in three years…not since he was officially pardoned…What could he have to talk to Kakashi about?" She replied slowly, not able to look at him as he put her down.

Naruto was clearly confused by her reaction, she could see it in his eyes and his slightly drooping shoulders; he thought she'd be happy.

"He wants to come back." He said, his smile faltering ever so slightly as he tried to understand her reaction.

She suddenly felt like she couldn't breathe right.

"Back?" She asked, almost whispering.

"Yeah, he wants to live in Konoha again, and rebuild the Uchiha compound, and reestablish his clan and all that. Kakashi-sensei figures that the elders and Tsunade-baa-chan will let him because they don't want to lose the sharingan bloodline to another village, or risk Sasuke trying to make his own." Naruto's grin was back, so sure that this would elicit the reaction he expected her to give.

"I…do you want him back?" She asked, finally looking him in the eyes.

Her eyes looked worried and conflicted and gave the impression that her entire being was dependant on his answer. He stared, back not knowing which answer she wanted. So, he went with the truth:


He said it with such stubbornness, and sureness…that purity of spirit only Naruto could have. Sakura tried to smile back, it was weak out of fear and doubt—doubt in Sasuke, fear of the repercussions, doubt in herself—but genuine, because the tumble of turbulent emotions inside of her somehow weren't shaking her faith in Naruto. Nothing ever shook her faith in Naruto.


Sasuke stood up and shrugged his shoulders, letting his shirt fall away. Sakura followed him with her eyes but otherwise didn't move. Naruto pushed up off of Sakura, happy to take the other boy's queue.

Naruto's blue eyes shown with undisguised desire as he looked from Sasuke: pale skin, black hair, haunting with a ray of moonlight bouncing off his sharp shoulders and broad but slim chest, to Sakura: also pale, but with angel like hair and soft curves hidden beneath red clothing, making her look like a prettily wrapped sin.

Sakura's eyes shifted from Sasuke's to Naruto's hand, held out waiting for her to take it.

Sasuke watched her slowly stretch her fingers out, her gaze suggesting she was something between hypnotized and attempting to tantalize. When her fingertips brushed Naruto's palm he quickly grabbed hold and pulled her up, with enough speed and precision to crash her body into him, one arm wrapping possessively around her, the other catching her head and tilting it up toward him.

Sakura stared at Naruto with a fierceness none of them had expected, but on some level all three understood. She bit her bottom lip quickly, then pushed her chin out, almost defiantly.

"You were gone too long." She informed Naruto.

He smiled, his blue eyes sparkling, like she'd just given him the most wonderful news in the world.

Sasuke waited, expecting Sakura to smile back…But after a minute, Naruto's smile faded, and his eyes widened a bit, confused and then almost shocked, as if something had dawned on him; a moment later he was smiling again, this time soft and understanding and happy on a level Sasuke suspected he, himself, would never be able to show, maybe even feel.

Finally Sakura pushed herself up onto the balls of her feet, wrapped on arm around Naruto's neck, and wound her hand up into his hair, the other pressed desperately against his chest as she half pulled, half pushed him into the fiercest, most uninhibited kisses Sasuke had ever seen her give.

As Sasuke stood a few feet away and watched, he wondered if this was what she looked like when she kissed him, because this was the feeling he always felt her give off when she kissed him…But this time it was all for Naruto. He didn't know where it came from though. She loved Naruto, but this sort of unbridled passion and anger had never previously been a part of that love and Sasuke was confused, again. He hated being confused. Although, I must not, he realized, because no one confuses me like she does, and I always come back for more. Of course, that confused him too.

Naruto didn't back down…Instead he responded with the same sort of insanity, his lips pressed against hers, sliding around so he could catch her bottom lip with his teeth, and pull, not quite gentle, not quite rough. One had was glued to the small of her back, pushing her body as close to his as possible, the other entangled in her soft-hair, caught between a fight for control and coordinating in a dance neither had previously performed quite the same.

When they finally broke apart, Sasuke watched Naruto come back just a little…And Sakura was reminded that Naruto was not like Sasuke…Naruto need an explanation.


"Naruto, don't." Sasuke interrupted. Taking a step toward them and grabbing the arm that was wrapped around Sakura, pulling Naruto toward him just enough to step in between them. Sasuke could see that Naruto didn't understand. Sasuke did though, and he knew that they could never explain it to Naruto, but maybe they could show him.

That was always how it was though:

Sasuke and Sakura understood each other when it came to intense emotions.

Sasuke and Naruto understood each other when it came to the fight.

Naruto and Sakura understood each other when it came to happiness.

They always tried to help the third understand…But the third never quite could.

3 Years Ago

"Sasuke-teme!" Naruto yelled, sounding angry.

"Dobe," Sasuke returned, not batting an eye-lash. He hadn't really thought Naruto would be angry with him, but he hadn't ruled out the possibility. It wasn't like it mattered anyway…at least not enough for him to let it show.

Naruto kept walking, and didn't stop until his face was inches from Sasuke's. His chin jutted out, his fists clenched, his eyes shining in anticipation—Sasuke could see he wasn't actually angry now, he was excited. "Why did you come back?"

His lip twitched upward just a little bit, "Kakashi didn't tell you?"

"He said you wanted to reestablish your clan's name."

"And that is why I came back." He replied, slowly, emphasizing every word, as if explaining a concept to a particularly dim child.

"Well Sakura-chan doesn't believe it." Naruto grinned.

Sasuke scowled, "I don't care."

"Well," Naruto cracked his knuckles, "I don't care why you came back. I only have one condition."

Sasuke's left eyebrow rose against his will, "What makes you think you get to make conditions to me coming back?"

"Connections in high places, Tsunade-baa-chan asked me if we should take you back, and if so what the conditions should be." He told him, still smiling that stupid smile. Sasuke wanted to punch it off his face, mostly because staring at it reaffirmed how much he'd missed it.

"And what is this condition?" Sasuke asked hautily, looking at Naruto down his nose, and feeling twelve years-old for it.

Naruto's smile faded into an entirely serious expression, "It's sort of a two part condition, the first is that you answer a question."

Sasuke would have rolled his eyes if not for something in the way Naruto was looking at him, "What question?"

"That day, three years ago, when you were hurt after fighting, when I told you we would both die…If I hadn't gotten there in time, would you really have killed Sakura-chan?"

Sasuke clenched his jaw, his hands balling into fists, his whole body suddenly feeling an adrenaline rush. He had to struggle to remain calm, unaware of why that question affected him so much…

Would he have killed her? He tried to picture it from the visually fuzzy memory he had, he was so tired, so emotionally charged, so lost…And even taking into account his mentality at the time, he tried to see himself doing it: He could imagine the smell and feel of her warm blood over his hand, his arm, his face, and remembered wondering, even then, in the back of his mind, if her blood would feel different somehow. He'd never made her bleed, he realized. It would have felt different, even if all in his head. Naruto's blood, Kakashi's blood, that was one thing… but cutting into Sakura, the idea of seeing her green eyes go wide and pale, with a look of betrayal mixed with love, staring straight through him and piercing his soul—the way he'd looked at his brother once upon a time—Could he have done that even as demented and lost as he'd been on that day?

"No." He finally whispered, the truth of it startling him far more than it startled Naruto, who seemed to have expected it more than hoped for it.

Naruto grinned again, "Good. Do you want to know what the condition is then?"

"What?" Sasuke sneered, more annoyed at the emotions Naruto had unintentionally dragged up than at Naruto himself.

"You have to promise me you will never leave Sakura-chan again."

Sasuke closed his eyes…He wasn't really thinking about it. He already knew he would promise it, and try to keep the promise, but he wanted to let the words settle in, wondering if the reality of hearing them would somehow alter a decision he'd already halfway made.

"Teme?" Naruto prompted.

Sasuke opened his eyes and looked straight into Naruto's, "I promise."

"Good!" Naruto grinned, glee written all over his face, spoken so loud by his body he was almost screaming it. "We're going and getting ramen tonight then! I'm convinced I can get Sakura-chan to like it as much as I've gotten Kakashi to! And once I've got her hooked, you're next!"

Sasuke rolled his eyes, sneered, and fell into step beside Naruto with a natural ease neither of them noticed.

Sasuke flipped Naruto around and backed him into the couch, forcing him forward until the couch caught his knees, and he fell back onto slightly too-rough cushions, his head barely missing bumping into the arm—not that it would have mattered, Sasuke's hand was securely nestled between blond locks, protecting the bone, which he insisted was too thick, underneath.

"Sas'ke—" Naruto breathed out, just before his lips were attacked again, this time just a little rougher, and accompanied by the scratch of stubble.

Sasuke bit Naruto's lip and Naruto bit back, sucked hard, ran his hands down the side of Sasuke's body and pushed them back up under his shirt, digging nails into the flesh on his back. Sasuke made a little unnamable noise, and Naruto, in his drunken state, vaguely considered flipping Sasuke around, but quickly abandoned the thought in favor of blindly giving into the pleasure created by the pressure and friction being created by the increasingly sloppy and raw movements the two of them were creating.

Sasuke pushed a knee between Naruto's legs and forced them apart, until his knee was resting just next to the stretch of flesh between soft-vulnerable testicles and a very hard erection. He rubbed his knee up and down just a bit, Naruto groaned, and Sasuke let go of his lips to bit at his neck, just under his jaw line.

He could feel himself losing his inhibitions as the minutes went by and the alcohol kicked in. Going for their necks was always when he knew he'd had enough… Soon it would be raw aggression and possession and need as the last few shots hit his blood.

He felt nails on his back, and Naruto mumbled, "Sakura-chan."

Her nails raked him up and down for a minute, Naruto's falling back to trailing his sides. Her knees found a spot among the mess of their tangled legs, and he felt her pelvis land against his ass. Finally her whole torso slid up his back, following her nails, as they made one last trail, replacing their rough sensation with the pressure of her breasts and her warm breath on the back of his neck.

"Sakura," Naruto moaned again, and Sasuke felt her weight shift as she leaned over his shoulder to kiss the boy beneath him. This time it wasn't quite rough, but it wasn't quite sweet and sensual like usual…Sasuke found himself not really caring in the deliria that is drunkenness and went back to Naruto's neck.

At some point the two must have stopped kissing because he heard a slightly demanding, "Sasuke."

He quickly forgot it in favor of pushing and sucking, and biting up and down Naruto's neck and shoulders and collar bone though. Somewhere in his mind he figured she'd just go back to kissing Naruto, or continuing the teasing sensations she was running up and down both of his legs with her feet, but if he'd been thinking coherently than he would have remembered she didn't like being ignored. And he would have remembered she knew exactly how to get his attention.

She bit him once, hard, where a barely noticeable scar lay, at the base of his neck and shoulders. His eyes flashed open, he groaned, and pushed himself up, swirling around, fast enough to catch her, instead of causing her to simply fall.

He pulled her up straight and ripped her shirt off with one hand, her skirt with the other. He pulled her against him, and bent his head down, biting her nipple hard as if he was going to punish her for interrupting, as his well practice handed slid up her back to unfasten the clasp of her disheveled bra. He pulled it off with his teeth, and tossed it aside. He swung her around so she stood between Naruto's legs, and made for the little panties poorly concealing the source of the smell that was secretly making him crazy. But Naruto's hands reached up and pulled them down for him, so he just shoved her down on top of Naruto, and very distinctly beneath him.

Naruto's hands automatically latched up to catch her at the waist, but quickly trailed up her body, and grabbed her breasts, unabashed, as he buried his face into the crook of her neck, biting and sucking, entirely lost to the feeling of the girl, alert and turned on pressed against his body. He caught her nipples between his fingers, and pinched and pulled and squeezed unabashedly. She moaned, and her hips rotated on top of his pelvis. Her ass was grinding down onto his erection at such an angle he almost felt like he could thrust up into her, and when she moaned and withered against him, he did so as a reflex.

It hurt, but they were all drunk, and she liked the pain, and she let out an entirely raw and feral sound as Sasuke stood on his knees above them, watching, smirking, possession and control written darkly on his face.

He grabbed her legs under her knees and pushed them back, then thrust into her as hard as he could.

"Harder, faster," she gasped, demanded and begged. Sasuke obliged, setting the pace for all of them. Naruto groaned, brazen pleasure filling his face as he continued to tug at bouncing breasts.

His blood raced faster and faster and all he could focus on was the tension and the pulse building as he fucked Sakura, and Naruto through her, and his balls were covered in sweat and body fluid and knocked into Naruto's and he felt how entirely they belonged to him. He needed them like this, needed to feel and to see that it was all real, that they would never leave him, that he would never be alone again.

He bent down, falling on top of Sakura, so her legs were completely spread, and she was moaning with the blurred line of intense pain and pleasure that normal women would never enjoy, and he would always find arousing like he never could have imagined before seeing her like this. She turned her head, and let him catch her mouth. They bit and tugged and pulled at each others' lips, and Naruto's hands roamed their bodies and he bit and sucked on Sakura's neck until the pain and the pleasure and exhaustion built up and their blood rushed together, and their bodies pulsed together, and they all screamed, losing their demons in each other.

And once again, in the middle of the night, they all found what they needed:

Naruto felt loved.

Sakura felt wanted.

And Sasuke felt whole.

2 1/2 Years Ago

They sat in Ichiruka like they had every week since Sasuke had come back, save the week he'd gotten married almost a month ago.

Naruto pretended he didn't sense the unusual amount of hostility coming off of Sakura today. A little bit was always normal with her, but it was really off the charts today…It had been a bad idea to force her to sit in the middle; today clearly wasn't the right day to up his effort in trying to make them get a long a little more.

The minutes ticked by, and he eventually gave up on trying to get either Sasuke or Sakura to respond to his comments. And when the food came, he was too hungry to bother worrying about it until he was done. When he did finish he noticed Sakura hadn't touched her bowl at all, but instead had neatly placed her chop-sticks on top of it and was glaring at it as if it had offended her deeply.

Sasuke hadn't touched his food either. Naruto raised an eyebrow and was really thinking hard about breaking the silence when Sakura, snarling, and frustrated and sounding a little bit like she might be trying not to cry, beat him to it.

Her hands balled into fists, and she looked Sasuke directly in the eye. "What did you need Sasuke? Why did you come back? The truth, not some bullshit excuse."

Naruto held his breath, not sure if the sinking feeling in his heart was for Sakura, or because the answer, to a question he'd never thought about before, was suddenly of vital importance to him too.

Sasuke stared back at Sakura for a while, completely expressionless except for an initial slight widening of his pupils. After a moment his gaze shifted to Naruto's, and then back to Sakura's, his previous annoyance replaced entirely by a defensiveness that one only feels when they think they're risking being hurt on the deepest of levels.