Disclaimer: I most certainly do not own Naruto.

Rose Red
August 2010

Sasuke crept through the forest as silently as possible. His meeting spot with Tsunade was only a few meters away but that didn't mean he could be careless. He was, technically, still a missing-nin. If he was caught now, just days after turning in his evidence, he could still be killed on sight.

A loud crunch sounded through the trees, sending a flurry of birds through the air. Sasuke launched himself into a tree, making sure his chakra was still masked. Another crack rang through the air, coming from his right. Cautiously, Sasuke moved closer to the source of the commotion. Suddenly, the sound of splintering wood filled the air as one of the larger trees started to shake. Almost in slow motion, the tree crashed to the ground, revealing a tall blue-eyed blond.

He stood in a patch of sun, opened by the felling of the large tree. His black pants had been ripped off at the knees and he wore no shirt or shoes. The pendant the Hokage had given him still hung securely around his neck. His blond hair, which used to be so short and spiky, was just past his shoulders and tied in a tail at the base of his neck. He was leaning over, his hands on his knees panting. His hands bled through bandages wrapped securely around his knuckles. The blond took a deep breath, turning his attention on another tree which he began to attack mercilessly. Sasuke looked around the blond, finding two other trees nearby that had suffered the same fate as the first.

A breeze wafted through the man-made meadow.

The blue-eyed boy paused, raising his head slightly and sniffed. All was silent and still for a moment. The blond slowly reached behind him, pulled out a senbon and flung it at the tree Sasuke was hiding in, just centimeters from the raven's arm. Sasuke, knowing the damage the blond could do, flared his chakra before recalling it again. The blond froze.

Sasuke jumped down from the branch, bringing the senbon with him, and landed a meter away from the blue-eyed boy.

"Naruto." He greeted, calmly offering the senbon back to its owner. The blond was taller than him by at least a head now and far more muscular than Sasuke's own slender frame. Naruto took the senbon warily. Silence enveloped the meadow as Sasuke waited for the other boy to speak.

"Wha – what are you doing here?" Naruto asked, warily.

"I killed Orochimaru and Madara. I came back with proof that Itachi didn't kill the clan." Naruto said nothing for a long while. Sasuke fidgeted, not used to the prankster being quiet.

"Why should I believe you?" Naruto's voice was devoid of emotion, his face blank as he awaited an answer. A look of shock flit across Sasuke's face before it slid back into his normal impassive expression.

"Why wouldn't you?" Naruto stared at Sasuke, not saying a word. 'Ok, I deserve that.' He thought. "I gave Tsunade the evidence three days ago."

"Then why are you here and not with her?" Naruto demanded.

"She wants to confirm it. It involves the council and a scapegoat. If my information is not correct, and she accuses them, Konoha may have a civil war." Naruto's expression didn't change. It was silent again.

"Say something." Sasuke growled after twenty minutes of silence. "You're never quiet."

"How do you know?" Surpise settled on Sasuke's face again, but didn't leave this time.


"How do you know?" Naruto repeated. Sasuke was speechless. Scoffing, Naruto turned around and continued to assault the tree. An ANBU popped into place beside the Uchiha.

"Lady Tsunade wants to see you, Uchiha." The ANBU caught sight of Naruto. "Uzumaki. You should come as well."

"Sasuke. We've done some very extensive research about the council around the time of your family's massacre. The information that you've brought us seems to be the truth. When we went to speak with the members of the council, many of them failed the truth test we gave them." Tsunade sighed. "After we … helped them remember… they gave us the truth about the massacre.

"It seems that the council feared you family's strength. They framed your brother with your cousin, Uchiha Madara. Itachi was actually on a mission, for the council, at the time of the massacre. You were the only one left alive because you were old enough to understand and remember the massacre, but young enough that they could manipulate you to follow their … orders.

"As such, your brother may be reinstated as an ANBU if he is found alive and willing. He will only get one chance to become a Konoha nin again."

"Itachi's dead." Sasuke interrupted. "Two months ago, he got caught giving me information about the massacre. Ataksuki killed him for not remaining loyal." Tsunade nodded, offering him a silent apology.

"You are also forgiven for your crimes, based on how the council warped your mind to 'avenge your clan', 'kill your brother' and 'rebuild your clan'. However, since you have attacked Konoha while 'under the influence', the villagers may not feel safe with you becoming a part of normal life without some kind of punishment.

"As such, you are to fulfill every D-rank mission I throw at you until I deem your debt repaid. The pay you should receive for these missions are to go to the orphanage and hospital as donations. You are also to be under constant supervision while in public." Sasuke nodded in understanding. "For the next few months, Naruto will be your guard."

"Hell no." Naruto growled from the shadows. Tsunade glared at the blond, before sending Sasuke to wait outside. The pair spoke in angry whispers, too quiet for the raven to overhear. Two minutes later, Tsunade stormed out of her office followed by an equally pissed Naruto. Naruto breezed past the raven, only pausing to when Tsunade stopped him.

"Don't forget our bargain, brat." She called after him, cackling at the murderous look he sent her before stomping down the hall. "Better hurry, Uchiha, or you'll lose sight of him." Sasuke nodded and 'hurried' after the blond.

Naruto was literally pounding the pavement, cracking the walkway in some places. The villagers were even giving him a wide berth as he passed, muttering excitedly as soon as they saw who was following him. Naruto ignored them, tuning them out as he remembered their 'bargain'.

"I am not guarding him." Naruto bit out. Tsunade glared at him.

"You are." Naruto shook his head adamantly, causing Tsunade to sigh heavily. "God damn it Naruto. You were the one so dead set on bringing Sasuke back. Now you want nothing to do with him? Make up your damn mind!"

"My mind was made for me. Remember?" Naruto sent the Hokage a brutal glare. She had the decency to wince.

"You know I had no choice. You couldn't do both."

"You gave me a fucking ULTIMATUM!" He hissed. "You know what I had to do and you know why. And you know I COULD have done both. You just didn't want me looking for him anymore." Tsunade's eyes went steely.

"And you know why I didn't." Naruto growled. "Here's another ultimatum, Uzumaki. Do it or you lose her."

Naruto growled, punching the wall, crunching his bones at the impact. He ignored the pain, the villagers stares and Sasuke as he continued towards his destination.

'The damn hag was playing with my life. Like she knows what's best for ME.' He scoffed. Stopping in front of a house, he rang the bell. Seconds later Lee arrived at the door. Lee's smile doubled in size and his loud voice rang through the street.

"Ah my youthful friend! It is good to see you! Come in, come in!" Naruto nodded and walked into their house, followed by Sasuke. Lee looked shocked the moment he saw the raven behind his friend.

"Naruto, is that you?" Sasuke looked up to see Sakura walking into the room, wiping her hands on a dish towel. She froze. "Sasuke? Is – is that really you?" She stepped forward quietly.

It had to be Sasuke. His hair was still in his signature style, he was still pale and emotionless. He had grown some, taller than her but still shorter than Naruto. He was wearing his sound uniform, still, which unnerved Sakura a bit.

"Hn." Sakura laughed, wrapping her arms around the Uchiha.

"Yup. That's our Sasuke." A small, bittersweet smile worked its way onto Sasuke's face. This was what he had expected from Naruto. A warm welcome, not the cold reception he had been privy to since he had found him in the woods.

"Where is she?" Naruto asked. Sakura waved him in the direction of the room she had come from, all the while shooting questions at Sauske, Lee holding her around the shoulders as he cried shouting about youthful reunions. Naruto disappeared through the doorway.

Sasuke however was preoccupied. He ignored Sakura, like he always did, and snuck after Naruto. Standing just to the side of the doorway, Sasuke saw Naruto squatting in front of a little girl. She had mousy brown hair, freckles, and a bandage over one of her brown eyes. She held up her hand and fed Naruto a small cookie. When he complimented her, she gave him a shy smile.

"Isn't she the cutest little thing?" Sakura sighed. "Sweet, too. Naruto absolutely adores her."

"Who'd he knock up." Sasuke grunted, his heart constricting painfully. Sakura glared at him.

"That's a thing to say." She chastised him. "And he didn't knock anyone up. He found her during a mission. One of the enemy ninjas killed her parents. Since they were travelers, he took her in." Sasuke almost sighed in relief. Almost.

The little girl grabbed Naruto's hand carefully, making Naruto wince. She looked at him, then tugged him towards the doorway. When she got to the doorway, she held up his hand to Sakura, not saying a word.

"Geez, Naruto. What did you do this time? Get in a fight with a mountain?" Clicking her tongue, she quickly and efficiently healed his hands. Naruto grinned lazily.

"Tree." Once his hands were healed, he picked up the little girl and kissed her cheek. She smiled and returned the kiss.

"Thanks for looking after her Sakura. I owe you one."

"No worries. I love spending time with her. She's perfect practice." Sakura grinned, shooting Lee a look. Lee paled before squeaking out a strangled,

"Pra-practice?" Laughing, Naruto gave Lee a slap on the back and left. Sasuke followed.

Sasuke trailed behind Naruto, ignoring the heated and excited whispers flying through the street. Occasionally someone would walk up to Naruto and chat for a bit. Naruto always responded cheerily, but not the exuberant replies that the raven was used to.

Naruto stopped.

"I'll be back tomorrow morning. Nine o'clock." With that he left, leaving Sasuke standing in front of the old Uchiha district.

"Well, this isn't going well." Sasuke sighed, pushing past the creaky door and into the abandoned district.

The next morning, just before the clock struck nine, a sharp rapping reverberated through the run-down mansion. Sasuke looked up from the closet and hurried downstairs. He opened the door to find Naruto dressed in all black, the little girl hiding behind his legs.

"We're leaving for the Hokage's office in five minutes. Get dressed." Sasuke nodded and raced back upstairs to finish getting dressed.

When he opened the door again, he found Naruto sitting on the doorstep with the little girl in his lap. Naruto threw a look over his shoulder and stood up, holding the child to his chest. With that, he marched through the street towards the Hokage's office. The walk was silent until Sasuke spoke.

"What's her name?" Naruto looked over his shoulder.

"Saya." He said, facing forward and continuing. Sasuke looked at the little girl, Saya. The child had been watching the Uchiha since they had left the estate. Her face was completely blank. It was a little unnerving. Glancing around, Sasuke noticed groups of girls watching them and whispering as they approached the entrance to the Hokage tower.

One of the girls was pushed forwards from one of the groups. Looking back at her friends, the young girl walked straight up to them, fiddling with the end of her shirt. Sasuke scoffed. Fan girls. They never change.

"Umm… Naruto-kun. I was wondering if – well – if you would like to come to the mo – the movies some time with me? And Saya of course." Naruto looked at the girl and smiled kindly. Sasuke's eyes widened a fraction, but no one except Saya saw.

"I'm sorry, Kimiko. While I appreciate the offer, and I'm sure Saya does as well, I'm not looking for a relationship." The girl nodded sadly and turned away from him. Sasuke glared at the girl as she trudged back to her friends who comforted the girl.

Naruto sighed and started up the stairs to the Hokage's office, Sasuke glowering behind him and Saya still watching Sasuke like a hawk.

Sasuke stood in front of Tsunade's desk as she gave Saya a check-up. She had told Sasuke that for today, he was to clean up the Uchiha estate and buy necessities for living. She had already given him a list of well over seventy missions to be completed. Naruto had just been leaning against the wall, smirking, the entire time Sasuke was receiving his orders.

"Alright, Naruto. She seems to be healing rather well. In a few days, you can take off the bandage. Bring her back if there's any more pain, itching, burning, anything." Tsunade opened one of her drawers and pulled out a bar of chocolate. Breaking it in half, she shoved one in her mouth and gave the other to Saya. Saya looked at the chocolate before leaning up and hugging the blond woman around the neck. Sasuke swore he saw tears in the woman's eyes.

"I'll be more than happy to take care of her." She grunted. Naruto nodded, smirking at Tsunade pointedly.

"Get out, brat. And take your brat-friend with you!" She growled, throwing her sake cup at Naruto, who ducked and ran out the door of her office chuckling. Sasuke smiled before following the blond out, giving a respectful nod to the large-breasted woman behind the desk.

Sasuke had been wandering around Konoha for two hours buying cleaning supplies, groceries and new clothes, Naruto trailing behind him. He was in a very bad mood. His reason?

Girls kept asking Naruto out.

Every twenty minutes or so, a girl would stumble up to the blond and invite both him and Saya someplace. To which Naruto would then politely decline and send the girl on her way. He knew each of the girls names, too. And many of these girls used to be in his fan club.

But it wasn't like he could blame them. Naruto was one fine looking hunk of man. Sunshine blond hair, sun-kissed skin, bright blue eyes. Not to mention his cheerful personality and his determination. And he had the added forbidden bad-boy aspect because of the Kyuubi.

But Naruto's new-found popularity wasn't all. Oh no.

Little Saya had not stopped STARING at him. It was seriously creeping him out. Sure he had been used to people staring at him, leering at him, declaring their undying love for him. But this little girl was just watching him. Her eyes rarely strayed from the raven and Sasuke swore she hadn't blinked all day.

Wait. No. She blinked.

Really he could deal with staring. It was the blank face that creeped him out. He hadn't seen one emotion cross that child's face since she smiled at Naruto in Sakura's kitchen.

Suddenly she blinked and looked at her stomach. Tugging on Naruto's sleeve, she silently pointed at her tummy. Naruto's face softened and he crouched in front of her.

"Time for lunch?" She nodded. Sasuke could swear he heard a few girls squeal. Growling, Sasuke turned around to face Naruto and the child.

"We're close to the Uchiha district. I can cook and I have fresh groceries." Naruto's neck cracked at he stared at Sasuke, surprise etching his features. Saya tugged his arm, forcing Naruto to look at her.

"Alright." He sighed.

That was how the pair spent the first few weeks. Every morning, Naruto would pick up Sasuke at nine. Naruto following behind Sasuke at a reasonable distance, sometimes bringing Saya with him, other times leaving her with Sakura, Iruka, or Hinata. When Sasuke was working one of his D-class missions, Naruto would be watching him from close by. After a week, Sasuke always made a bento in the morning, one for him and one for Naruto. It prevented unnecessary socializing and walks through the village (where Naruto would once again be asked out by a girl).

Occasionally, Sai or Gaara would come sit with him while he watched Sasuke. They would speak in hushed tones and sit far too close to the blond for comfort. On those days, Sasuke had a hard time finishing his missions quickly and efficiently.

Sasuke was losing it. Naruto had been completely silent during his time with Sasuke unless someone else spoke with him. It was driving Sasuke up the wall. Not that Sasuke liked noise, but it was Naruto. He had always been loud, boisterous and annoying. Now Sasuke was not among those graced to his rich-honey like voice.

"Why are you so quiet!" Sasuke snapped one day, glaring up at Naruto while he weeded. Naruto looked at him carefully before answering.

"Why shouldn't I be?" Sasuke growled, throwing a dandelion at the blond. Naruto dodged, a small smile creeping onto his face before disappearing. Sasuke glared at him, demanding an answer silently.

"I'm a ninja. Being noisy and annoying was just a way to make people notice I was alive." Naruto did not say another word for the rest of the day, much to Sasuke's dissatisfaction.

A few days later, Naruto initiated a conversation.

"Why did you come back?" Sasuke looked over his shoulder at him as he repaired a roof. "It's been four years." Sasuke stopped and looked up at the sky.

"Various reasons. I finished what I left for. I proved that Itachi was innocent. Killed the man threatening Konoha for me. And got stronger. I had nothing left keeping me away." Sasuke murmured. He glanced at Naruto out of the corner of his eye. "Away from my home, my friends, my love."

Naruto didn't react or say anything else. Sasuke heaved out a sigh and continued working.

This was killing him. Slowly and painfully.

A week later, Sasuke was losing sleep. Not because of nightmares or overwork. No no no no. He was losing sleep to dreams. Wonderful, splendiferous dreams.

It was his waking life that was haunting him. Every night, he would have one of those remarkable dreams. And every morning, he would wake up and it would all be a lie. His heart broke every morning.

So he stopped sleeping and started cleaning. Each morning, Naruto would come to pick him and a different part of the estate would be sparkling clean. And Sasuke would be even paler than the previous day. Two days later, he cornered Sasuke in his house.

"Sleep. Now." He ordered, throwing him on the bed. Sasuke nodded mutely and turned over. He was asleep in minutes. He slept through most of the day and into the night. When he woke up, he found Naruto asleep on his couch, Saya snuggling into his side.

His heart grew three times its normal size and he very nearly squealed like one of those fangirls.

He spent the rest of the night watching them sleep.

When Naruto woke up, he found Sasuke sleeping on the floor propped up against the couch.

After two months, Sasuke lost it. When Naruto dropped him off that night and turned to leave, he launched himself at the blond. Grabbing onto the back of the blonde's vest, he yanked him into the mansion. Locking the door behind him quickly, Sasuke shoved Naruto up against the door. Naruto's eyes narrowed.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" He growled. Sasuke held tightly onto Naruto's front, his head buried into his chest.

"You're an idiot. A total, complete, sexy-ass idiot." Sasuke mumbled into his shirt. "I came back for one reason; you. But in order to do that, I had to bring back proof that I wasn't an enemy of the village." Sasuke looked up at Naruto.

"Am I too late? Should – should I have stayed away?" Naruto didn't say anything. His face betrayed no sign of emotion. "Oh God please. Please don't tell me I did this for nothing. Please!" Sasuke begged, digging his face back into the blonde's chest.

"I love you Naruto. I've loved you for years. But you only ever saw me as a friend. I had to leave. Don't you get it? You broke my heart every single day!" Stepping away from Naruto, Sasuke rubbed at his eyes, staring vehemently at the floor.

"It doesn't matter anymore. You hate me. Just – just tell Tsunade I asked for a different guard, okay? Then you never have to see me again." Sasuke was crying now. He didn't care about Uchiha pride anymore. He just had to let him know. Sasuke stumbled back again, still looking at the floor.

Hearing nothing from the blond, Sasuke crumbled onto the floor. Tears leaked from his eyes silently, his eyes trained on the floor in front of him.

It was over. He officially had nothing left.

A hand moved into view and grabbed his chin. It forced him to look up and stare into Naruto's face. He stared at Sasuke thoughtfully. Leaning forward, he gave the raven a quick, hard kiss to the lips. The blond then stood up and turned back to the door.

Sasuke stared at him as he unlocked the door. Panic rushed through him and he scrambled after Naruto. Sasuke crashed into him and shoved him against the door. Melding his mouth with Naruto's, Sasuke wrapped his legs tightly around his waist. Parting his mouth with Naruto's, Sasuke started planting little kisses all over his face.

"If you don't feel the same, don't give me encouragement." He leaned his forehead against the blonde's, panting. "Tell me now. Should I stay or should I go?" Naruto said nothing, merely rolled his hips against Sasuke's repeatedly.

"I think I get the picture." Sasuke groaned.

The next morning, Naruto arrived at nine o'clock and was immediately met by a pair of warm lips. Grinning softly, Naruto led a slightly limping Sasuke to the site of his next mission.

Just pointless fluff. It's what I write. Love.