Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and Co and therefore I do not make money from playing with them like they are my own personal and rather naughty action figures.
Summary: There are reasons why two people can't be together. Separated by oceans, by wars, by family feuds. Try being the Angel of Death. Romeo and Juliet were lucky. SasuNaru
Author's Note: *tumble weed bounces innocently across your screen* Yeah. I know. So long. I can't tell you how much your comments and polite nudges meant to me… in terms of feeling guilty, of course, but guilt equals motivation apparently. Good job.
Reminder: NaruSasu Day is on October 23rd! I have something planned, but considering how long it took me to whip real life and motivation into line to get this last chapter out, I can't guarantee that it will be on time. BUT, if YOU write something, let me know. I'd love to read it and squeal in delight.
The Divine Glitch
His scream still echoing in his ears, Sasuke didn't even take the time to register where he was before he threw himself over the desk.
"What did you do?" he yelled and curled his fingers into the collar of Kakashi's white shirt. "He won't understand." With each word he shook Kakashi. "I can't leave him like that again!"
Kakashi, for his part, took the abuse with a blank expression, as if facing the wrath of one of God's angels was just a trifle thing. Cementing this theory, Kakashi yawned wide, half-heartedly covering his mouth with the tips of his fingers, and turned a page of his orange book over Sasuke's head.
Sasuke growled, shoving Kakashi back into his chair. He stood in front of Kakashi's desk, fingers fisted cruelly at his sides, and his breath came out in harsh rasps. If he was surprised that he was suddenly dressed in a white, loose fitting shirt with draw string pants, he didn't show it. "I'm going back."
Without looking the least bit ruffled, or up from his book, Kakashi nodded absently. "I wouldn't worry too much about leaving your little friend behind."
Sasuke didn't answer, hands shaking with suppressed anger. "You have no idea…"
"Yes, yes…" Kakashi said with mock concern, "because what could I possibly know." Long fingers turned another page. He read silently for a moment, a near giddy smile curling his lips, but then, as if he remembered he was in the middle of something, continued, "What I do know is that going back isn't going to get you any closer to him than you are now."
Kakashi finally looked up, but didn't meet Sasuke's eyes. Instead, he focused on something in the far corner of his office. Sasuke turned, and there, pressed back in the corner like a wild animal under attack, was Naruto. His entire body was posed to move, to run, to attack, and his eyes darted around the room, looking for explanation or escape.
"Idiot," Sasuke breathed, stepping away from the desk and turning to face Naruto. It was possible that Naruto didn't hear the relief in that single word, but Sasuke did, felt it with his whole being, and Kakashi's poorly concealed snort indicated that it hadn't escaped his attention either.
Naruto stepped cautiously from the corner, keeping his eye on Kakashi, but when he reached Sasuke he shoved him hard in the chest. "What the hell, you bastard?"
The sound of Kakashi's book landing on his desk filled the room. "Heaven, actually." Kakashi corrected nonchalantly and turned an exasperated look in Sasuke's direction. "I thought he'd be smarter than that."
"Heaven?" Naruto repeated, slightly higher than Kakashi's version, and then stumbled back, his hand rubbing the back of his head. "Am I dead?"
Sasuke's head snapped around to Kakashi so quickly the silver-haired angel flinched. "Right, about that…"
Sasuke stepped angrily toward the desk again only to stop when Naruto's fingers curled into his sleeve. He looked back to see that Naruto's face had paled.
"I thought we agreed on not killing me…" The smallest smile curled Naruto's lips, but his voice gave away his nervousness and his fingers didn't loosen on Sasuke's arm.
"He's not dead."
Sasuke's face could have been carved from marble. "He can't be here if he's not…"
"He's standing right here," Naruto hissed, "And he has a name."
Kakashi leaned back into his chair, closing his eyes and rubbing his temples. With a long, put upon sigh, he said, "I know your name. Every damn angel in Heaven knows your name. And, frankly, Naruto, I don't want to look at it anymore." Slate-gray eyes opened, zeroing in on Naruto with an intensity that made the blond press against Sasuke's side. Kakashi's eyebrow rose in a graceful arch, his amusement at the action clear. "So here's how we are going to play this. I want you to be very, very quiet. No one needs to know that Naruto Uzumaki is here, in Heaven, with his physical body and his stolen…" Naruto opened his mouth, anger flashing in his eyes, and Kakashi spoke over him. "Fine, 'borrowed' soul. You two have already caused me more than enough paperwork, thank you very much."
Kakashi held Naruto's eyes for an intense second and then nodded, having apparently gotten Naruto silent agreement. With Kakashi's attention elsewhere, Sasuke felt Naruto's hold loosen on his sleeve. A moment later, Naruto's fingers curled around his own and squeezed. Something inside Sasuke tensed, waiting to feel the pull of death at Naruto's soul, but there was nothing. Nothing but the warmth of Naruto's skin and the pressure of his grip.
"Sit down, boys. I did call you here for a reason." Kakashi grinned until his eyes closed and the smile pulled comically at his features. "Well, one of you, but who's counting?"
Sasuke shifted toward the two white chairs that had suddenly appeared in front of Kakashi's desk, but Naruto didn't move.
"Wait," he said softly, holding Sasuke back by the grip on his hand. The muscles of his jaw worked under his skin and his eyes narrowed on Kakashi. Sasuke felt anger flow over their connection like a fog, slow but all encompassing. "You did that? You hurt him."
Kakashi nodded immediately. "Yes."
"Naruto," Sasuke warned softly, squeezing his fingers, but Naruto yanked his hand away.
"You were screaming in pain," Naruto said without emotion. His fingers curled and uncurled at his sides. "I thought you were dying. I thought I'd never see you again after we finally…"
The soft brush of fabric shifting made him stop and they both looked at Kakashi who had crossed his arms, watching them closely. Naruto glared at angel as if was him who was intruding. With a frustrated noise, Naruto turned back to Sasuke. His emotionless demeanor lost. He bit his lower lip and whispered, "I thought that you were being punished…"
Kakashi cleared his throat, leaning forward with his elbows on the desk. His face was the epitome of scientific curiosity but Sasuke had seen less deviousness in the eyes of the minions in Hell. "Oh, and just what could you have been doing that would need to be punished?"
Naruto's face went from righteous anger on Sasuke's behalf to deer-in-the-headlights. "I… umm…"
Sasuke moved toward the desk while Naruto continued to stammer and pushed Naruto into a seat before taking his own.
"I received your file," Kakashi said conversationally, "thought we might go over it." In the blink of an eye, Kakashi held a white folder in his hand. Leaning back into his seat, he casually flipped it opened, thumbing through the pages.
"Your file?" Naruto said. "You mean our file? The 'on-the-desk-of-God' file?"
"Yes, yes," Kakashi replied. "Interesting stuff." He hummed to himself, flipping through the sheets. "Can't say I didn't see some of this coming," he said, talking more to himself than his two visitors.
Several minutes ticked by and Sasuke sat in his chair well aware that Kakashi didn't share anything until he was good and ready. Sasuke had an eternity of practice at waiting.
Naruto… not so much.
"What the hell?" he finally snapped, looking between the two angels like they were crazy.
"Heaven," Kakashi sing-songed without looking up and Naruto growled before he made to stand. Sasuke yanked at Naruto's own white sleeve, noticing for the first time that they were dressed exactly the same. Well, better than how they left earth.
Snapping the folder shut, Kakashi leaned an elbow on the arm rest of his chair and tapped his fingers against his chin. "First of all, Naruto has been classified as a Divine Glitch."
Sasuke looked at Naruto, eyes wide. Naruto fidgeted under his stare and finally burst out with, "What? What does that mean?" When Sasuke failed to answer, he made an angry noise and slammed his hand on the desk. "Well?"
Kakashi closed his eyes and rubbed his temples as if Naruto's very existence gave him a migraine.
And, perhaps, it did.
"I'm sure you are aware of God's Plan?"
"Yeah, starts with 'let there be light' ends with eternity in Paradise for all the good boys and girls." Naruto drummed his fingers against his knee. "All in accordance to 'the plan'."
"And God knows everything?" Kakashi prompted like a preschool teacher to a squirming toddler.
Naruto's eyes narrowed suspiciously and he nodded slowly. "Yes?" He said the word as more of a question than a concrete answer.
"Have you ever had an ant farm?"
Naruto looked from Kakashi to Sasuke and then back. "You have to be kidding me, what does that have to do with…" Both angels arched an irritated eyebrow. Naruto glared and pressed his back into the chair behind him. "No, but I know what they are." Any uncertainly disappeared from his voice. "If this is where you tell me we are all ants in the glass case of life, I swear to G…"
"Oh no, no, no…" Kakashi said shaking his head as if the notion alone was horrifying. With one hand he motioned between himself and Sasuke. "Not we... you."
"What?" Naruto asked flatly.
Ignoring him completely, Kakashi leaned back in his chair and kicked his feet up on the desk. With his hands laced behind his head, he continued with a grin. "In the beginning…" Sasuke knew a lesser angel would have groaned at the cliché phrasing. He also knew that was exactly why Kakashi used it. "You get some ants and dump them into a glass case filled with sand. Everyone knows how it ends."
Naruto nodded. "A maze of tunnels."
"Exactly. But the enjoyable element is that although the beginning and end are foregone conclusions, how it happens is up to the ants."
"Freewill. Yeah, I might have heard of that, once or twice."
"It's the magic word. Keeps things from getting boring. You know they will make tunnels, but you don't know in what direction or design. You can't know which ants will rise to the top or which will be stepped on and used as the foundation for the growing colony."
"So, I am the ant that rose to the top?" There was an undertone of pride in Naruto's words.
"Hn," Sasuke said with a smirk and when he had Naruto's attention simply arched a condescending eyebrow. Naruto just grinned and shrugged.
"No," Kakashi said and shifted his feet to the floor, elbows on the desk. "What you are is unpredictable. A red ant born into a colony of black. A glitch. In the ant analogy, if you were allowed to survive and assimilated into the colony, you could change their evolutionary course. Because of that glitch, a new breed of ant rises, stronger than any of their contemporaries."
Naruto blinked and his eyes were unfocused, seeing something no one else could. Delusions of grandeur… so human.
Sasuke glared at Kakashi and the gleam of amusement clear in his gray eyes and then slapped Naruto on the back of his head.
"Ow! What the fuck?" Naruto complained and rubbed at the back of his head.
"Before you get too caught up in your own wonder, idiot, you should know most divine glitches don't have such epic," he spat the word at Kakashi, "repercussions. Some we haven't even figured out after centuries and can only assume are meant for entertainment purposes."
Kakashi shook his head sadly. "Platypus… poor, confused bastard."
Letting out a loud breath, Naruto finally dropped his arms back onto the rests of the chair. "Great… so I could be an evolutionary milestone or a cosmic joke?"
Sasuke turned in his chair and grabbed Naruto's hand. It was only after Naruto looked at him with surprise that Sasuke realized it was the first time he had reached for Naruto first.
"You are a glitch. Unpredictable and undefined. You aren't detrimental to the greater plan but you aren't within the typical perimeters of human behavior either. Your existence might or might not have significant lasting effects on humanity…"
Kakashi interrupted with a chuckle. "You have certainly left an undying impression on Heaven, however."
"You are proof that nothing is concrete, that those of us overseeing God's plan shouldn't become complacent, that humanity is ever-changing and glorious." Sasuke knew that his Grace was glowing, pulsing inside him, because he could see it reflected in Naruto's eyes. "Most importantly, Naruto, you are evidence to Heaven and Earth that God is still watching and actively tweaking his Plan as He sees fit."
Naruto didn't respond for such a long time that Sasuke squeezed his hand. Naruto visibly swallowed and a thin wrinkle appeared between his eyebrows in thought. "All of this…" His thumb rubbed absently over Sasuke's knuckles. "is because of God?"
Sasuke closed his eyes and Kakashi flinched –rather dramatically- like he'd been slapped.
"No," Kakashi said. "We try really hard not to label anything BOG. You know, since the flood and that thing with Moses."
"That thing?" Naruto asked, "You mean, the parting of oceans, manna from Heaven, and setting His people free? What does any of that have to do with bogs or ME for that matter?" Naruto finally succeeded in pulling his fingers free of Sasuke's and held onto the arms of his chair with a vice-like grip.
"Not bog, idiot," Sasuke snapped testily, his empty fingers curling into a fist on his knee. "B.O.G. Because of God."
Naruto blinked. "Isn't everything because of…"
Kakashi chuckled. "No. Just the beginning and the ending."
Naruto scratched the back of his neck. "But you just said the flood…"
Kakashi waved away his comment with a lazy hand. "And some stuff in the middle."
"O-kay" Naruto drew out sarcastically. "So if this isn't because of…" Both Kakashi and Sasuke tensed. Naruto rolled his eyes. "If this isn't BOG," he continued in an exaggerated whisper, "I'd like to know who I can send my 'thanks for my fucked up life' card to."
Sasuke was torn between wanting to agree with Naruto and wanting to slap him on the back of his head again. "You know that the alternative was death?"
Any level of unease disappeared from Naruto's face. "Fuck you. Suddenly I'm a fucking Glitch and everything makes sense in your world. Good for you. Because in my world I'm still down my whole family and screwed because I'm in love…" Naruto's voice came to a ragged stop, like it was being dragged over gravel and he swallowed painfully before looking away from Sasuke. "So, yeah, fuck you." Weaker than before, but a hundred times more powerful.
Sasuke reached out and determining worked Naruto's fingers loose of the chair arm before forcefully lacing their fingers together. "Naruto," he said softly, pointedly ignoring Kakashi and focusing on the gentle brush of Naruto's… soul? Their bond that vibrated over his mind, so natural, as if it had always been there. Naruto was so confused, scared, angry, a million emotions… so human, so alive, so Naruto. Everything Sasuke could ever imagine as being perfectly imperfect.
Naruto didn't look at him and didn't even pretend to hold his hand back, just directed his flat stare onto Kakashi before he sighed. "Why me?"
Sasuke looked at Naruto for a moment longer, watching the rhythmic movement of his pulse point at the collar of his shirt and the way his Adam's apple moved with each impatient swallow.
It was Kakashi's sigh, a sigh that matched Naruto's in heaviness that drew Sasuke's attention away.
With his left hand, Kakashi carded his fingers through his hair, silver strands jutting out in every direction. "You want to know who to thank?"
His voice hadn't changed, but somehow the words were sharp and had an edge to them. Like an unspoken choice that had an 'and you can never go back' clause attached.
Finally, Naruto's fingers grabbed onto Sasuke's, holding tight, nearly painful.
Kakashi watched Naruto for an eternity before his gray eyes shifted to Sasuke. The question was never aired, but asked nonetheless.
Sasuke gave a curt nod and Kakashi leaned back into his chair, long fingers threaded together over his stomach.
"Well, Naruto, you can write that note to Sasuke."
"What?" Naruto and Sasuke spoke at once. Sasuke glared heatedly even as possibilities circled in his mind.
Nothing made sense… nothing had made sense in such a long time and the more Kakashi spoke, the more Sasuke wished he was back in Naruto's apartment, back in Naruto's bed, back in Naruto's arms… frustrated, oblivious, and naively dread-free.
Kakashi tapped the forgotten folder on his desk with his fingers before answering. "You realize, of course, that most people never get to hear any of this. They just go through life feeling blessed, or cursed, as the case may be." Naruto didn't even blink. "Of course, you do," Kakashi continued. He smiled, but the action didn't hold any of the amused tolerance Sasuke was familiar with from the head angel. Instead, it was soft, understanding, with an underlying feeling of genuine concern. "We don't say 'because of God' for two reasons. One," he said holding up a finger. "It can and has been argued that God is the reason for," –Arms spread wide- "Everything. But the fact of the matter is, nine times out of ten, God isn't actively involved."
Naruto's tilted his head to the side, one eyebrow raised suspiciously at the emphasis in Kakashi's words.
"Freewill. Such a huge responsibility with far-reaching consequences for decisions and actions made in the blink of an eye." He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "The things that can honestly be contributed to God are the things that don't happen. I know you enjoyed the ant analogy, so I'll continue it."
Sasuke felt rather than saw the flash of amusement the words brought Naruto.
"God stops the cat from knocking over the farm, or closes the curtains to stop the sun from burning them alive. Hundreds of ants scurrying around, digging and thinking how miserable their lives are, and they never realize how close they came to utter annihilation. Glitches are like the cat, only instead of being stopped before you started, you were allowed to continue. I suppose in a way, you could blame God. You chose to defy the typical plan set forth for God's children and He decided that watching that choice, your choice, play out was worth the risk."
Naruto's hand in his was hot and Sasuke could feel the gentle tremors run through their connection.
"I still don't understand what this has to do with Sasuke."
Kakashi fell silent and the sound of Naruto breathing filled the room. Sasuke looked up to see grey eyes staring at him intensely. He hadn't realized he had tightened his grip on Naruto's fingers until Naruto shifted, tugging gently in reminder for him to ease up.
"What, Sasuke?" Naruto asked, whispered as if it would keep the other angel from overhearing him. "What is happening?"
"What do you know about soul mates?" Kakashi asked nonchalantly and Sasuke immediately felt something like relief flood from Naruto, a feeling of understanding, hope, happiness and Sasuke stood abruptly, yanking his hand from Naruto's as he glared at Kakashi.
"Are we…" Naruto asked.
With control he wasn't sure he still possessed, Sasuke spat, "There are no such things as soul mates!"
"What is your problem?" Naruto yelled, standing as well. "You obviously know something I don't. Suddenly you don't want me to know? I thought…"
"Naruto," Sasuke said, the air of warning clear in his tone. "You don't understand."
"Whose fault is that! GOD DAMMIT, you bastard, whose…"
Naruto's words abruptly caught off when the office began to rattle, the seemingly everlasting white light flickering to darkness.
"Darn it… I meant… gosh darn it…" Naruto mumbled, eyes looking Up.
Kakashi finally stood, his shadow running up the wall behind him, looming over the room, and in the brief flash of light, Sasuke saw his wings, breathtakingly beautiful and dangerously strong.
"Sit. Down. Now."
Naruto immediately sat but Sasuke held Kakashi's flashing eyes for a second before complying. "I thought," Kakashi said, taking his own chair, "that we had agreed that you would keep a low profile. No one would know that you were here. That you would play by the rules." He rubbed the arch of his nose. "Let's not do that again."
Sasuke closed his eyes and tried to get control of himself. Thoughts and feelings collided and repelled inside him, making him feel dizzy with lack of control. Control. He'd never had to worry about control. He was an angel and nothing was ever out of his control or in his control. He was an instrument of God. Exact. Fair. Unchanging.
He opened his eyes and his head turned slowly until he was looking at Naruto. Naruto looked back at him, confused, angry, scared. And Sasuke understood the origin of each of those emotions to the core of his being. As if he could understand Sasuke's thoughts, Naruto reached out and ran his fingers down the folds of his sleeve until their fingers curled together.
Sasuke knew he should smile or react but the fact was he was scared. For the first time in a millennia, he was petrified because since Naruto's first breath, everything was changing.
"What my insensitive colleague was trying to say is that the concept of soul mates has been completely blown out of proportion by mankind."
Sasuke heard Naruto take a deep breath. So resigned. When had he become so resigned?
"Yeah, okay, so why bring it up?"
"God gifts every human being with their own soul. It's your soul that sets you apart from angels and demons and God himself. Each of you are unique and your soul is yours alone to care for, to keep pure or to tarnish, as you see fit."
"So, what? It's all just a made up story? Something we tell ourselves to feel better?"
"No," Sasuke said before Kakashi could answer, and the grey-haired angel seemed content to let Sasuke take the explanation from there. "Soul mates share a single soul. Half and half. What should have belonged to one person is spread between two. It has happened once. That is where the stories came from."
"Adam and Eve," Naruto said slowly and Sasuke nodded.
"Another Glitch," Kakashi confirmed. "Adam was lonely and needed a mate and was willing to give a piece of himself to make it happen. God didn't force him. He could have whipped up another human on His own, but Adam chose to offer and God is, quite honestly, a sucker for freewill. And he loves to watch how freewill tweaks the 'farm'."
"But the rib?"
"Metaphors are fun, my little red ant."
Naruto glared and then absently bit his lower lip. The fingers on his free hand curled and uncurled over the white fabric of his pants. "I don't know how this… or understand. Why?" He looked at Sasuke and whispered, "Please."
Kakashi sighed. "Twenty years ago Sasuke came to take your soul. It was his job. He'd done it a million times before and might have done it a million more times after but instead of letting Sasuke take your soul, Naruto, you gave it to him."
"What are you saying?" Sasuke asked, sitting forward in his chair. "What does that mean?"
"You couldn't take his soul that day because he was giving it to you. Not to Heaven, not to be carried back to God. He looked at you and chose to give half of who he was to a soulless vessel."
"Why?" Naruto asked and his voice cracked over the word.
Kakashi looked at Naruto with the gentleness and compassion only an angel could bestow. "Because you are a Glitch. Because of God. Because your soul saw something it wanted and freewill allowed you to reach out and take it by any means necessary. I don't know, Naruto. No one knows. But it is a validation of God's love for you that he let you choose."
Kakashi closed his eyes and took one calming breath before looking at Sasuke's accusing glare. When he spoke, his words were sad. "Just by saying that to me, you know it's true."
Sasuke shook his head and pulled his hand from Naruto's before standing up. "Fuck," he mumbled and ran his fingers through his hair. "Why couldn't I touch him?"
"You were trying to kill a part of yourself. What do you think that does to a soul?" Kakashi paused for a moment, his eyes narrowed in thought. "Or, maybe, Naruto was trying to give you the rest, thereby killing himself." Kakashi laced his fingers, elbows on his desk, and pressed his chin against his knuckles. "I can give you theories until forever, and although I have no way of knowing for sure, I believe that all of this was for you, too, Sasuke. His love for you."
Sasuke fingernails dug painfully into his palms and he fought the urge to turn and look at Naruto who was being suspiciously quiet. The bond was loud though, confused. "I can't have a soul. I am an angel. I have been an angel all of this time." Still confused with a sharp tang of pain, rejection. Oh, Naruto…
"How many times in the last twenty years have you been drawn to Naruto? How much guilt did you feel over abandoning him? For collecting his family? How often were you scared for Naruto? Proud? How many times did you watch Naruto living without you and felt jealous?" Sasuke shook his head over and over. "How many times have you chosen to defy Heaven?"
"I never!" Sasuke yelled and where Naruto flinched back as though Sasuke's anger had physically struck him, Kakashi merely lifted an eyebrow.
"You chose to watch Naruto. You chose to interact with him although you knew that you were never meant to. You chose to love him and to express that love. You chose with the freewill you were granted because of a sliver of soul given to you by a newborn baby who never should have taken a single breath on Earth."
His voice never fluctuated but it filled the room, demanded Sasuke's undivided attention and suddenly, Kakashi was holding a black folder in his fingers.
"I see," Sasuke said, his voice dead while he stared at the folder. To the side he saw Naruto stand from his seat. He was rubbing the back of his head, eyes darting frantically between the two of them and for the briefest second Sasuke felt a smile tug at his lips.
How many times had he watched Naruto do that, rub at the back of his neck, buying himself a little more time to process the situation? The first time he had been two years old, covered in chocolate birthday cake. He'd pushed a step stool next to a chair next to the table and toddled his way up onto the table while Minato entertained in the living room. An enthusiastic giggle and a loud crash later found Naruto, hands and face smeared with chocolaty evidence, under the scrutiny of his father. Naruto reached a tiny hand behind his head, rubbing frantically, before slowly bringing his hand down, small finger pointed at a smirking, dark haired angel, smiling brilliantly in the corner, that no one else could see. 'He did it, dada!'
How many times had he held down this ridiculous urge to push Naruto's hand away, replace it with his own, his fingers through Naruto's soft hair? How many times had he imagined taking Naruto away from everything? Hiding away from everything on Heaven and Earth until it was just the two of them? When had he started loving Naruto over everything else?
For the barest moment his existence seemed to press down around him, such a simple thing, an angel of Heaven, tasked with one thing for all eternity. Everything he was, now completely destroyed because of one man and his selfless urge to give up a piece of his own soul.
"Sasuke," Naruto spoke from beside him, resting his hand gently on Sasuke's shoulder, and Sasuke turned his head slowly to meet Naruto's blue eyes. "What is the black folder?"
Before he could answer, Kakashi cleared his throat. He stood behind his desk, black folder open before him. He appeared to read from it, but never took his eyes from Sasuke.
"Sasuke Uchiha, you have served under our Lord and Father since the beginning of the beginning…"
Sasuke felt his chest tightened until the pain forced him to grit his teeth and step away from Naruto, facing Kakashi straight on.
"… as such, you will be held responsible for your actions, against Heaven, Our Lord, and the soul of Naruto Uzumaki…"
"Wait," Naruto interrupted. "Just fucking wait… what is this? Actions against my soul? If anything it was me! I'm to blame!" Sasuke felt pain race through his mind, not from the vise like grip Naruto grabbed his arm with, but instead the fear racing frantically through their bond. A fear that likely belong to both of them. "Sasuke, what's happening? What is he saying?"
Kakashi continued in the background, each word ripping a sliver of Sasuke's heavenly Grace away from him, but Sasuke forced himself to concentrate on Naruto's pleading voice, the concern and love that swirled in wide blue eyes and the feel of his touch, warm, frantic, everything he'd ever wanted.
"Naruto," he whispered and reached up to ease Naruto's hand from his arm, intertwining their fingers.
"Sasuke," Naruto said urgently, squeezing at his fingers. "I did this to you? I didn't mean to, I swear, I didn't know…"
"… defied the rules that the foundation of Heaven are built on…"
"No! He didn't. I did. It was my fault, don't… whatever you are doing. God, please, don't."
"Shhh, it's okay…" Sasuke whispered and leaned forward, cutting Naruto's words off with his own mouth. The kiss was like nothing they had shared before. Soft and slow, it was a silent request and a willing consent. With the hand not already held in Naruto's, Sasuke cupped the side of his face, deepening the kiss until they were pressed into each other, Naruto's hand wrapped possessively on his hip.
"I ruined…" Naruto began again and Sasuke silenced him by biting teasingly on his lower lip.
Sensing that Naruto understood, Sasuke stepped back just enough that he could run his fingers through the hair at the back of Naruto's head and press their foreheads together.
"It's okay, idiot," he began and smiled slightly at Naruto's watery glare. "I chose. I knew what I was doing. You haven't ruined anything. You gave me something I never would have had. I chose to love you and you gave me that choice."
"Sasuke Uchiha, do you understand the charges brought against you?" Kakashi's voice demanded attention and both Sasuke and Naruto turned their heads, but their hands remained clasped and they were pressed against each other like lifelines.
"I understand," Sasuke said with conviction even as Naruto shook his head. Only Sasuke's warning squeeze kept Naruto from screaming. "It's okay, Naruto. It's going to be okay. Thank you."
"You are hereby banished from Heaven, never to return as an angel for all eternity."
"NO!" Naruto screamed.
Kakashi closed the folder and ran his hand through his hair, his grey eyes soft, in harsh contrast with his chill of his previous words. "I am sorry."
White light so blinding Sasuke was forced to close his eyes. Silence so loud Sasuke knew his eardrums had ruptured. Nothingness in every direction by the feeling of falling was overwhelming
Was it worth it?
Naruto's hand in his, their fingers curled around each other like a puzzle, pieces perfectly matched.
"Sasuke, I won't let you go! I won't!"
So, was it worth it?
"This whole time, all I ever wanted was to touch you…"
Light was replaced with darkness and Sasuke legs gave out from under him. His fingers dug into the surface beneath him, soft and yielding, but he couldn't see, he couldn't think clearly beyond the feeling of falling.
Falling. Fallen. That's what he was. Cast away. A fallen angel. Panic curled inside his chest, the pressure building and building until his head spun wildly. He tried to hold in the chaos –control, control, control- but his mind was suddenly against him, questions and solutions rapid firing inside his head until he thought he might go insane. Where was he? Why? What would he do now? How? God, please… Alone, alone, why, he shouldn't be. Where was…
'I won't let you go!'
Finally, he spoke. One word filled with all the pain, loss, and fear that he hadn't ever needed to express before and now boiled up inside him.
And then there was light and Naruto fell in front of him, their knees touching. With one hand, Naruto pulled Sasuke's fingers out of the carpet while the other cupped his face, brushing his cheek bone with his thumb.
"Breathe, Sasuke, please…"
One forced breath, two, three and Naruto's beautiful face swam into focus.
"Where?" Sasuke breathed and Naruto's face was so near his breath moved the soft, blond spikes that fell over Naruto's forehead.
"We are back in my apartment," Naruto answered and his eyes left Sasuke's briefly as if assuring himself that the statement was still true. "We fell, you fell… oh fuck, Sasuke, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."
Naruto's arms wrapped around him, forcing them together, and he felt Naruto's face press into the skin of his neck. "I never wanted…" he mumbled, his head shaking back and forth. "No, I did, so much! I did want it. I'm sorry."
Sasuke stared over Naruto's shoulder at the worn blue couch in Naruto's living room. Food and soda cans still littered the coffee table and Sasuke couldn't believe how normal it all seemed to him. He'd just been here, pressed against the wall, watching another man declare his love for Naruto. His jealousy at their casual touches –one of Naruto's arms slipped down, his fingers rubbing over Sasuke's back, offering subconscious comfort- his sadness that Naruto couldn't have it any more than he could and he deserved it –'I'm here, I'm sorry, it's not enough, but I'm here'- and finally, his elation when Naruto called to him, begged for one chance, their only chance.
"All I ever wanted to do was touch you."
Not just a memory. Words, spoken against his mouth, a needless apology that finally made Sasuke realize exactly where he was. Where he belonged.
His hands moved up over Naruto's chest and shoulders to fist the hair that brushed against the nape of Naruto's neck. He tilted Naruto's head and stopped his words with a forceful kiss that didn't allow for apology. None was needed.
He nipped and licked at Naruto's lips, demanding more and giving just as much. When they finally slowed down, Naruto leaving a trail of kisses down his jaw line, he felt Naruto's grin against his skin.
"Damn, bastard, we can finally touch," Naruto's hand dipped under his shirt and teased the elastic of his pants. "And I'm not on the brink of death." His fingers dipped lower, brushing hidden curls and Sasuke sucked in his breath. "And yet," Naruto continued with a chuckle. "I think we'll be reminding each other to breath for a long time."
Sasuke pushed up on his knees, forcing Naruto's hand farther down his pants and making himself a head taller. Naruto's warm fingers buried themselves into his coarse hair and ghosted over the base of his cock. Sasuke bit his lip to keep in the soft moan trying to escape his chest.
The fingers of Naruto's free hand came down and curled into the fabric of Sasuke's shirt over his chest. A soft moan escaped when he felt the gentle tremors of Naruto's hold against his heart and somewhere dangerously lower. Sasuke's head tipped forward, black eyes shuddered as he looked down on Naruto, only to snap open at the look he found on Naruto's face.
Yes, there was a fair amount of need, Naruto's breath coming in shallow gasps against the skin of Sasuke's face, but anguish and guilt darkened his eyes and Sasuke knew exactly what Naruto was thinking.
"Stop," he whispered and although he was talking about Naruto's inner turmoil, Naruto pulled his hand out of Sasuke's pants and let it drop, along with his other hand onto his thighs. "Whatever it is you think you did to be sorry for," Sasuke began, sitting back on his heels, but keeping one hand around the back of Naruto's neck, rubbing soothingly, "is nothing. I owe you everything."
Naruto shook his head and Sasuke cupped Naruto's jaw, keeping it still. "Twenty years of wanting you and now I have you. Thank you. You gave me…"
Sasuke voice trailed off and he looked to Heaven before looking back at Naruto with a self-deprecating smirk. "Everything. A soul. You. I never could have imagined… don't be sorry. Just don't." His grip tightened on Naruto's face and he yanked him forward, crushing their mouths together until it hurt. "I'm not."
"You'll never…" Naruto said against Sasuke's lips and then angrily shoved Sasuke back by his chest when he tried once more to force Naruto into silence. "He said you'd never go back to Heaven."
Sasuke chuckled and ran both hands through his hair before meeting Naruto's none-too-amused glare.
"Your soul is important, you bas…"
"Our soul, you mean," Sasuke interrupted and darted a hand out to capture Naruto's wrist and bring his hand to rest once more over his heart. "Our soul is human and Kakashi specifically said I'd never return as an angel."
Naruto blinked and then yelped when someone cleared their throat from behind him. Kakashi sat sprawled on Naruto's couch. Back against one arm while his bare feet rested, crossed at the ankles, at the other end. "Yes, my little red ant, even in death you have assured that you'll be together for eternity." He, of course, said this while turning another page in his orange book, a stark contrast to the now black outfit he wore. "Happy ever afters for all," he finished tonelessly while waving his free hand in their general direction.
Sasuke's fingers curled around Naruto's, squeezing, and he nearly smiled at the possessiveness in the way that Naruto held his back. "What are you doing here?" he asked while Naruto shifted until they were sitting side by side, staring at their uninvited guest.
Kakashi closed his book and tucked it away in the inner pocket of his jacket. Although his face remained stoic, amusement flashed unchecked in Kakashi's eyes, like a Cheshire cat, well aware of something they didn't. "You would believe I missed you?" Sasuke growled. "No… well, then, I thought you'd like to congratulate me on my promotion."
Naruto cocked his head to the side before saying, "Ummm, congrats?" Sasuke didn't move. Kakashi loved beating around the bush… burning or otherwise.
His comic grin confirmed Sasuke's theory. "Well, it turns out that there's a new soul on the books. Well, new to Heaven, not to new to you. And as you know, all souls get a guardian angel."
"Are you fucking with me?" Sasuke deadpanned and Naruto snorted at his response.
"No, I assure you, Sasuke, I am not. There was some… concern, if you will… throughout the different levels of Heaven that the two of you might not play by the rules, and that it might be easier just to get someone experienced from the get go to keep an eye on you."
"And they picked you?" Sasuke asked, disbelief clear in his voice.
Kakashi shrugged as if Sasuke's attitude didn't bother him at all.
Naruto laughed and stood up, pulling Sasuke with him. "Well, seems like it's a waste. We aren't breaking any rules, nor do we plan to." He smiled at Kakashi and then pressed himself against Sasuke's side, arms slipping around his waist and head pressing against his shoulder before he placed a flurry of kisses against his pulse. "We have other things to do," he purred.
Sasuke didn't even acknowledge Kakashi and turned, pulling Naruto with him toward the bedroom. Kakashi's voice froze him in his tracks.
"But, you already are."
"What?" Sasuke asked, his voice low and dangerous.
Kakashi stood with a grace unmatched on Earth. His hand reached into his pocket and he tapped the orange book against his thigh.
"Don't you know? Souls never see their guardian angels. Ever." Sasuke felt Naruto's hand tighten in his own. The amusement is Kakashi's eyes now clear on his face. "Well, at least, not until today."
And with a cheeky smile and a cocky nod, he was gone.