Name: Some Kind of Spark
Author: Ibilintu/Aryna/DaftDays
Pairing: NaruSasu
Rating: M
Warnings: MxM sex
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Kishimoto Masashi, I'm just borrowing and making no profit at all.

A/N: My gift for the amazing Jelp in the Not-So-Secret Santa exchange on y!gal. Too rushed, 'm not happy with this, but at least I got it done somewhat in time.


For Jelp


An annoyed frown crossed Sasuke's face as he stood in front of the door to Naruto's apartment, his hands clenched into tight fists. One of them was still aching a little from the pounding he'd done on the said door but he didn't pay it any mind, such trivial pains not interesting him the slightest. Right now, all he could think of was whether he should kick in that door and force Naruto to talk to him or do what the idiot was currently non-verbally telling him, to fuck off.

In most cases, he probably would've chosen the latter option without even a hint of guilt, but when it came to Naruto Sasuke often found himself behaving in an unexpected way. This time was one of those, and he found it hard not to give in to his desire to force that door open and go demand an explanation from the owner of the apartment. Unusual as it was, the hints of worry that had started to trickle up inside him were making it hard to keep his irritation in control.

"Naruto!" he almost yelled again, pounding his fist on the door a couple of times to emphasize the word.
"Just open the fucking door!"

Again, Sasuke received no answer. Seething silently he stared at the door, so ready to kick it in if Naruto didn't open that very second, but finally he heard silent footsteps from inside and a soft thud of someone leaning against the door. In an automatic gesture he arched his brows a little, his fingernails biting into his palms as he kept silent. He was sure Naruto knew he knew the blonde was there, and he was also pretty certain that the man knew he'd end up breaking the door if he didn't get some kind of an answer.

"Just go away." The usually loud and cheerful voice sounded muffled through the door, but that wasn't it all. There was something odd to it, something Sasuke couldn't recall hearing in years, and that something made his heart sink a little.

Slowly, he flattened his hand against the door and leaned towards it as though hoping it would get him closer to Naruto somehow.

"Naruto." Sasuke's voice was gentler than it had been moments ago, but it didn't sound very real to his own ears. He was just trying to sound nice and like he cared, when he still wanted to punch the blonde for being so damn weird and making him worry like he had.
"What's going on?"

It was silent again, enough so that Sasuke could hear his own breathing in the air. Then, right after an odd scraping sound from other side of the door, Naruto spoke again, his voice firm and clearer this time.

"I don't want to talk to you right now. Go away, Sasuke."

Gritting his teeth, Sasuke pushed himself away from the door, biting back a harsh reply. It was rare for him to even try to be nice, to give Naruto a chance to respond to a kind question instead of demands, and usually the blonde fell for it, but now it had been thrown back at him way too easily. Either something was really truly wrong or the blonde was experiencing some kind of male version of women's monthly mood swings, and Sasuke was ready to bet his money on the latter.

His shoulders slumped a little and he narrowed his eyes. If that idiot wanted to be difficult, then he damn well could if he wanted, and Sasuke wasn't going to pay him any attention. There were moments when he admitted that Naruto had a reason to get cranky with him, but this time he was absolutely certain that he'd done nothing to piss off Naruto like this.

But when two days later Naruto still hadn't come out of his apartment, Sasuke found himself wondering if he really had done something wrong. It was rare for his friend to sulk that long for no apparent reason, he'd never been the one to hold grudge anyway, so now when Naruto still stayed inside after Sasuke briefly stopped by and offered to take the blonde to ramen and even pay for it, he started to get worried for real.

The pale fingers stretched and then clenched into a fist again as the raven stared at the door thoughtfully, wondering just how much it would take to burst it into pieces with chidori, when a soft hand landed on his shoulder and squeezed it gently. A surprised frown crossed Sasuke's face as he turned around to face a friend of both his and Naruto's, a young woman with soft pink hair and bright green eyes smiling sadly up at him.

"You shouldn't", Sakura stated firmly, her hand sliding down from Sasuke's shoulder to his wrist to hold it back. Her brows were knit together in a concerned frown as she glanced from the raven's clenched fist to the door and back again, and then she shook her head, giving Sasuke an unreadable look.

"He doesn't want to see you just yet."

Sasuke's brows rose in irritation but he knew better than to start snapping at their friend; it would only make Sakura angry with him and it wasn't worth the trouble.

"Why?" he asked in clipped tone, his shoulders already tense in defense. Somehow, the way Sakura had said that made him feel like it really was his fault the blonde had locked himself inside that cranky apartment of his and refused to come out.

The green eyes stared scrutinizingly at him for a moment, searching for something. It was an intense stare, one that might've made a lesser man shift uncomfortably and maybe try to run away, but Sasuke bore the look and answered it with a calm one, his emotions already back in control. He might've slipped a little, honestly considering kicking in Naruto's door when it really hadn't been but a couple of days since he'd last seen the man, but now that Sakura was here he wasn't going to let it show. No matter how good friends they might've been, he wasn't going to show any kind of weakness in front of her.

"You don't know yet, then?" she asked in soft voice, finally turning her eyes away and glancing quickly at the door that remained closed, worry flashing in the forest green pools.

Sasuke shook his head immediately, hoping that the woman would let his hand go. Even if time had already passed since his worst teenage years, being touched by a girl -or a woman- still made him feel rather uncomfortable. Not that he specifically liked being touched by men either, but it was... better. A lot better actually.

Sakura sighed, patting the front of Sasuke's jounin vest and finally let go of his hand, nodding her head away from the door.
"I need to tell you something. Come with me."

In ten minutes she had found them a private lodge in a corner of a small tea house, a place Sasuke had never visited but now wondered why. It was a quiet place, small and cosy but mostly free of people, just like Sasuke preferred. There were no eyes on them as they entered, only the owner of the house coming to greet them with a deep bow and a few soft-spoken words to Sakura. It was obvious the woman had been there before.

They remained silent as they waited for the tea to be brought, and Sasuke had a moment to collect himself again. He knew he was being ridiculous and oversensitive, something he very rarely caught himself at, but it was just that... He couldn't forget the look he'd seen on Naruto's face the day the man had locked himself in. The blonde had been rushing down a street late in the evening, looking like he might've been just a little bit drunk, and he had been holding a piece of paper in his hand. He had been wearing orange again, the color never seemed to leave him when he wasn't working and forced to wear his jounin uniform.

Other than the slightly puffy face, Naruto had looked nothing out of unusual, and Sasuke had figured he would stop and say a few words. He himself had been returning from the training grounds, mentally getting ready for bed when he'd spotted Naruto and stopped to wait for the blonde to reach him. It wasn't uncommon that the man had a thing or two to say to him, especially when he had drank a wee bit too much sake.

But for some reason, Naruto didn't stop. He stormed past Sasuke like he hadn't even noticed him standing there, and when the raven had called out after him he had turned and given Sasuke one miserable, completely crushed look like his life had just shattered into million pieces, and then he was gone.

Too stunned to move at first, Sasuke had just stood there, mulling over the look and wondering if he'd misinterpreted it somehow, but finally he'd found himself walking towards Naruto's apartment, determined to find out what was going on. His best friend had always been quite impulsive and a bit on the dramatic side, but on the other hand it was easy to tell when he was being serious, and the load of emotion he'd seen on the usually so sparkling eyes had been nothing joyous.

And that was how he'd ended up banging at Naruto's door in the first place.

"Sasuke?" Sakura's voice broke through his thoughts despite how quietly she was speaking as if to match to their surroundings.

Sasuke shook his head quickly and took his tea cup, smelling the delicate aroma appreciatively. Nothing could beat good tea when it came to foods and drinks, except maybe a certain type of tomato soup Naruto had accidentally invented while trying to cook something for Sasuke after breaking into the raven's house one time.

"Have you been in contact with the elders lately?"

The question caught Sasuke completely off guard and he glanced at Sakura, his face betraying just a hint of surprise.

"No", he stated firmly, already trying to guess where this was going. What did the elders have to do with Naruto's sour mood?

The look that crossed Sakura's face gave out that she wasn't exactly believing Sasuke, but she shrugged and continued anyway.

"How about Tsunade? Had any friendly chats with her?"

"No." Sasuke didn't even try to fight the frown, bringing the cup to his lips to taste the steaming hot tea as he kept his eyes on Sakura. If the question about elders had been unexpected, this one hadn't opened it to him at all. Tsunade was retiring, it was only a matter of time when she would announce her successor, and there had never been any doubt that it wouldn't be Naruto. She was still doing the paperwork and sending people off to missions, but Sasuke hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks, not after returning from his latest mission.
"Why?"

Finally, Sakura's eyes strayed and she looked down at her cup of tea, looking suddenly very uncomfortable with what she was going to say. She pulled strands of hair behind her ear, running her fingertips through the silky locks in a nervous gesture and then shifted before trying to sip her tea.

It was very unusual for her to act that way, so honestly nervous and unsure that Sasuke didn't know what he could say. So he ended up being silent and waiting for the woman to get over with it, his tea waiting on the table as he suddenly didn't really feel like drinking it.

"You see...", Sakura began, placing her cup on the table as well but still keeping her hands around it. She took in a deep breath as if gathering courage before forcefully tearing her eyes away from the cup and letting them meet Sasuke's.

"You have to understand, Sasuke." There was something bubbling underneath, something nervous and somehow afraid, something that made the green eyes darken and try to stray away from Sasuke's face again.

"He doesn't blame you, not really. He's just confused and... angry, but not with you. It really isn't your fault."

Starting to feel slowly very uncomfortable, Sasuke kept his face expressionless and tried to understand what wasn't his fault. He had no idea what the woman was talking about, but the way she did it made him feel like something really bad had happened, and for some reason it sent a cold chill down his spine. Lately that had been happening a lot when he thought about Naruto.

"What isn't my fault?" the raven asked slowly, nothing in his voice even hinting of anger or anything he actually felt.

Sakura was still fidgeting nervously, but slowly she sighed deeply and face Sasuke again, deep sadness glinting in her eyes as she spoke.

"You'll be made the next Hokage, Sasuke."

Sasuke stared blankly over the rooftop at the faces of the previous Hokages. The sun had set about an hour ago and now there was only the faint glow of moon and the stars left, giving the town a peaceful atmosphere. The faces of the deceased leaders were looking over the town that was slowly going to sleep. From here, the raven could see lights going off in windows and people moving from the streets into the houses. Since the week had just begun there weren't many people out in the bars or restaurants and even Ichiraku had already closed for the day. The town looked as ordinary as ever.

Yet in Sasuke's head, everything had changed. The buildings looked odd, the sounds of people moving around in the streets and calling to each other sounded foreign to his ears and most importantly, the stone eyes of the Hokages' weren't gently gazing at the town, no. They were all glancing at him, giving him long intense looks as if trying to read his mind as he stared back at them, fighting the urge to turn and run away.

It wasn't just Konoha anymore. The village was his, or would be his as soon as the elders and the current Hokage would make the decision official. Closing his eyes, Sasuke tried to suppress the flinch that always followed those thoughts, his mind racing as he tried to recall the letter Sakura had told him about.

It had been an official announcement from the elders, their decision about who should take Tsunade's place in the Hokage tower now that she had chosen to leave her position. The paper had said nothing about Naruto, not even naming him as the second choice if Sasuke for some reason or another would decide to refuse the offered job. Not that a refusal would be accepted though, and he knew it.

After the war was over and he'd been half-dragged back to the village, he'd spent quite some time time trying to prove the people that he wasn't going to betray Konoha again. Over the years he had succeeded, becoming one of the village's most respected and powerful ninjas, and the recognition had finally let him feel at ease. But apparently he had gone a little too far while convincing the townspeople.

Sasuke had never in his life dreamed of becoming the Hokage and he knew he didn't want to do it now either. He wasn't a leader of that kind, he didn't care about the village or the people enough. It should've been Naruto, the one they wanted here. He would've been exactly what the village needed now that it had mostly recovered from the war and was ready to start developing again.

A deep sigh escaped Sasuke's lips and he pinched the bridge of his nose, standing up abruptly. He hadn't thought about it before, but now he knew what he had to do. The resolution set, he glanced around to check his surroundings and then the spot on the roof was as empty as it had been all day long.

Somewhere more in the west a knock echoed on the door of a small apartment, a certain dark-haired young man standing at it and waiting for someone to answer.

"Naruto." Sasuke's voice was deep and calm, rising from his throat as he tried not to growl.
"Open the door."

The faint footsteps echoed inside the apartment again but the door didn't budge.

Holding back a sigh, Sasuke knocked again, this time not quite as loud.

"I know what's happening. Open the door, I want to talk to you about it." And then he waited, and waited. He couldn't hear anything from the inside, and for a moment he believed that the blonde was going to ignore him again, but finally something clicked and the door opened a little bit, revealing nothing. It was silent for a moment, and then...

"Hello, Sasuke. It's good to see you!" And the door was yanked open, a blond-haired young man with beautiful blue eyes standing behind it and wearing a dazzling smile that would've fooled anyone but Sasuke.

Without a word the older man pushed past Naruto into the apartment and made his way to the middle of the room before turning back to look at the blonde, his arms folded across his chest.

"I don't want it."

The man in the doorway flinched visibly, his expressive eyes registering shock for a second and then getting all masked again.

"Why? Of course you do. It's the greatest honor, Sasuke", Naruto murmured gently and then closed the door with a soft thud. He was speaking with a voice that sounded so controlled it was unnatural for the blonde, and the blue eyes never quite met Sasuke's black ones.

"It's what you wanted, isn't it? The village finally trusts you again. They want you to protect them, Sasuke", he kept going as he slowly walked away from the door and closer to the raven, the bright eyes still looking at something behind Sasuke. Naruto didn't stop until he was standing right in front of the older man, almost too close to Sasuke's liking, and without a warning he placed his hand on the raven's chest.

Surprised, Sasuke let the emotion show in his eyes as he watched Naruto with squinted eyes, waiting for him to look up. Despite having been locked up in here for days the man didn't look all that bad. He didn't look like he'd been crying at all, there was no red in his eyes and his hair was just as unruly as ever. He was also in pajamas already, an odd hat-like thing in his hand. It was the same sleeping cap the blonde had had even when he was a kid, but as far as Sasuke knew it didn't fit his head anymore. Silently he wondered if the blonde slept while holding the hat now that he'd grown too big to wear it.

The hand in his chest felt weird and Sasuke had to fight down the urge to step back and stop Naruto from invading his personal space like this. It was usually very annoying, being close to anyone like this, but somehow with Naruto most of his rules didn't really matter; even now the need to get away was still fairly tolerable. Slowly, when it started to seem like Naruto wasn't going to look up anytime soon, Sasuke shook his head slowly and then sighed.

"Naruto, look at me."

The younger man lifted his face a bit, but his eyes still remained on the wall behind Sasuke.

A little annoyed growl slipped past the raven's lips and in the spur of the moment he grabbed Naruto's chin and tilted his head up properly, momentarily enjoying the height difference.

"Listen to me, dobe."

At the insult, Naruto's eyes finally turned to him, surprise flashing in them.

"I don't want to be the Hokage, I've never wanted. I don't want to protect these people or this village, they're not something I treasure. I would leave them in a blink of an eye if it came to my life or theirs. I don't need them in my life and I'd rather stay away from the politics." The pale lips pressed together for a moment before Sasuke's tongue slid out to moisten them quickly. Naruto was still staring up at him incredulously with wide eyes, the look on his face making Sasuke feel like he might've suddenly grown another head.

"But Sasuke-"

"Quiet, usuratonkachi, I'm not done yet." The sharpness had returned to Sasuke's voice and his grip of Naruto's jaw tightened a little as he stepped closer to the man, not even noticing the tanned hand as it slowly slid down to his hips from his chest and rested there.

"What I'm saying doesn't mean I won't accept the offer if they insist I do it, but I will hate every second of it. I will hate the job, the room where I'll be sitting, and eventually I'll start hating the village again. It will lead to nothing good, and it's why I want you to be the one to have your face carved to the stone next. I'm giving up the position for you, Naruto. If they come to ask me about it, I'll tell them to come to you. That way-"

"No, Sasuke." Naruto's voice was calm and determined, something very sad and very painful bubbling under the hardened resolve.
"You won't do that. I won't let you."

Sasuke blinked, the words utterly surprising him. His hold of Naruto's face got loose and slowly he let his hand drop, but the other man didn't step away. The bright blue eyes were glinting with determination as they stared up into the unreadable black ones, and slowly Naruto shook his head, holding up his hand to keep Sasuke silent as he spoke.

"You will not be declining the offer. They want you, Sasuke. It's a huge honor, and if they trust you enough to ask you, you must not let them down. And besides-", the young man went silent for a second or two, something red flashing in his eyes, "-I don't need your pity." His voice didn't waver, didn't shake, but if one refused to be fooled by the almost happy tone there was a darker note underneath, carefully hidden bitterness and pain that didn't quite reach the surface.

Sasuke chose to remain silent, his eyes growing just a little bit colder. He wouldn't admit it, but Naruto's reaction had honestly surprised him, the whole situation actually did. He'd expected to find Naruto a bit more broken or at least angry at him or the elders, and even if he could see the man was feeling all those things it was clear that Naruto was fighting to hide it. And then, when he'd offered the position to the blonde he'd thought the man might refuse at first, but not turn him down like he now had.

Things just weren't right and Naruto was obviously being delusional. His pity? Like hell was he pitying Naruto. It was nothing like that, he just felt that the elders were making a huge mistake by choosing him and that Naruto was the one who in reality deserved the position more than anyone else in the whole village. That was yet another thing Sasuke wouldn't voice, but he knew it was the truth.

Naruto interrupted his thinking by smiling suddenly, looking just as fake as Sasuke knew he must've felt..

"Don't worry, bastard... I will give you at least as much trouble as I've given to the previous Hokages. And when you end up either losing your mind or getting killed when trying to prove that you're a real man and ready to fight an army on your own, I'll be there to take your place." The blonde winked and stepped back, apparently trying to look carefree and like the thing didn't really matter to him at all.

That was probably what pained Sasuke the most. He didn't want to see Naruto like this, hiding things from him when they both knew he could see through whatever act the man might put up.

Almost an hour later, when Naruto shut the door behind him, Sasuke found himself gritting his teeth and growling in anger as he stalked towards his house, his mind racing. He couldn't stop thinking about the position of the Hokage and how Naruto was reacting to the thing, how easily he pretended to take it. The whole time he'd stayed with Naruto they had both known the blonde was only putting up an act, a pretty cover for Sasuke to see and to keep himself from shattering, and during the longer silent moments when Naruto thought he wasn't looking, the raven had noticed a changed look in the other's eyes. It wasn't hatred, not that strong, but he could easily tell that the man was feeling extremely bitter despite the pretty facade he was putting up.

Sasuke kicked the ground as he sped up, hoping to get away from the stupid thoughts for even a little while. It didn't take him long to get home, and as soon as he was inside he headed to kitchen and took a sake bottle from the top shelf, fetching himself a cup at the same time. He weighed the bottle in his hand and quickly went through his schedule for the next day. He couldn't recall having anything special to do, so he poured himself a generous cup of the alcohol and downed it at one go.

It wasn't like he was an alcoholic of any kind, but at moments like this Sasuke had found out he enjoyed the slightly fuzzy and unclear feeling in his head. It helped him both forget and to sleep as well.

Grimacing slightly, the raven went to put the bottle away and headed to his bedroom. He didn't bother with the lights, it was so tidy in the room that there was nothing to bump into anyway. His head was also still spinning in a way that hinted the darkness was only good for preventing a headache. The sake was still burning his throat as Sasuke stopped next to his bed and started to quickly undress, hoping to get to sleep soon to manage to stop thinking even for a moment.

It was crazy how confused the situation was making him. He hadn't really expected Naruto to turn down his offer although if he'd thought it over twice he might've realized it could happen, and now he was at a total loss of what to do. It had all been true, what Sasuke had told his friend about not wanting to be the one expected to protect the village and the people, they really didn't matter to him much. Even when he'd been a kid he hadn't thought of becoming the leader of the village, that position simply wasn't for him, but the raven also knew there would be no way to turn down the elders when they finally came to ask him. It would be taken wrong by them, considering they probably were still trying to find something to prove that he was evil, and he really didn't need any more eyes on his back. The first year or so after he'd come back had been horrible time for him, there had been at least one anbu unit trailing after him and reporting back to the Hokage about his daily activities. It wasn't life, and Sasuke really didn't want to get back to that. It was also because of the supervising that he still didn't feel all too comfortable in the village, even if he'd lived here for years already.

Groaning, Sasuke flopped to the bed on his back and closed his eyes, his hand rising to rub his temples gently. The sake was making his head feel a tiny bit fuzzy and while he didn't really mind it it didn't feel all that amazing either. Either way, it was making him tired, and he yawned while rubbing his eyes a bit. Now he should just crawl under the covers and enjoy the last days of his freedom...

"...when you end up either losing your mind or getting killed when trying to prove that you're a real man..."

The words flashed through his Sasuke's head and he was suddenly wide awake, his eyes sharp and clear as he stared up at the ceiling above his head. He was such an idiot, really, for making such a big deal out of this. The solution had been there all the time and he had refused to see it, thinking too hard of finally becoming accepted back to the village. Naruto had even voiced his last choice, and while trying to convince the blonde that he was wrong again, Sasuke hadn't even noticed it.

Opposite to what he'd made himself believe in the last few years, he didn't need to fit in. He didn't need the villagers' love or even acceptance, he didn't want their smiles or trust, and most importantly he didn't need any of those from the elders. What had been done to his brother by the village elders would never become painless to think about, and even if the Uchiha clan had been the only to blame, ordering Itachi to kill them all had not been the right decision. That was why Sasuke refused to trust those people himself, even if he was still living here. Konoha hadn't been his home since he'd left it the first time, it was only a place for him to live in.

And besides, it wasn't like he hadn't thought about this before. It had been mostly Naruto, keeping him in the village, the man had kept believing in him and making him think it truly mattered what people thought about him. Naruto had been his first friend and he was still the best one Sasuke had ever had, despite some of his negative traits. And now the only reason he had had to stay in the village was gone. Naruto needed him to go more than he needed him to stay.

His eyes hardening in resolve Sasuke climbed up from the bed and got dressed quickly, his brows knitting together as he glanced around in the room. He had chosen to live in a small apartment near the borders of the village instead of for example moving back to the old Uchiha estate. His old home had suffered quite a bit during the long war anyway and he wasn't interested in rebuilding it, at least not yet.

In this room, there wasn't much to make it look more like home either. Sasuke didn't have pictures of people save for one photo of him, Naruto and Sakura framed on his nightstand. It had been taken around a year ago, in the beginning of the summer when Sakura had dragged them both to a picnic with her. Naruto had been his eccentric self all the time while Sasuke had spent the time trying to decide whether he disliked such utter waste of time or actually found it enjoyable. In the photo, Naruto was trying to kiss Sakura on the cheek while the young woman leaned away with a look of mock disgust on his face, and Sasuke was just watching them, the smallest smirk playing on his lips. They had all laughed after the photo had been taken, and he knew both of his former team mates had saved it.

Letting out a sigh, Sasuke reached for the photo and brushed his fingertips against the metallic frame. They lingered on it for a moment, grabbing a hold of it as if he was about to pick it up and take it with him, but finally he just turned it down to face the desk, and without another look at it he rushed out of the room.

In the darkness there weren't any eyes on him as he made his way to the wall that surrounded the village, but after giving it another thought he changed his directions and ended up at the gates. The shinobi on guard were quickly trapped inside a genjutsu and the darkness hid the young man's slim form as he slid out of the gates and disappeared into the forest, silent as the night itself.

Loud pounding from his door shook Naruto awake. He was lying on a couch in his small yet comfy living room, exactly where he had passed out last night after Sasuke had left. He hadn't had the strength to move after crashing down on the couch, and his back muscles were hurting like bitch thanks to his very unergonomic sleeping position. The blonde could also feel the beginning of a headache as he tried to stretch his neck.

"Naruto! Naruto, wake up!"

Letting out a soft groan, Naruto slowly stood up and rolled his shoulders, his eyes squinting as he yawned. It took him a moment to truly register the noise from his door, and as he finally did, he couldn't help the pain lashing through him. Was it Sasuke again? If it was, Naruto couldn't imagine what he had in mind so soon after last night. He thought he had made it very clear he wasn't going to accept Sasuke's offer, and he was going to stick to his decision no matter how much it pained him.

Honestly, telling no to Sasuke last night had been one of the hardest things he had ever done. He had had his dream handed to him on a silver platter and yet all he'd done had been spitting at it. Sasuke had come here, to tell him that he didn't want it, but Naruto had only turned him down.

It had been mostly because of the pain and bitterness he couldn't help rising inside him, and of course pride. When Sakura had first come to him with that look on her face, the dooming look that had first made Naruto wonder if someone had died, Sasuke maybe? That had had panic lashing through him, but when he'd been shown the paper Sakura had found the blonde had briefly thought maybe it would've been better if Sasuke had actually been dead. That was something he'd be ashamed of for the rest of his life and he'd never admit it to anyone, but it also made it clearer to him how hard the blow had been.

Becoming the Hokage had been the one thing he'd wanted his whole life, his ultimate goal that had kept him going most of his life. Yes, he had been ready to give it up when he'd been in the middle of rescuing Sasuke, his friends always came first, but now that the raven was back...

This was something Naruto had never expected. He had always known Sasuke didn't want to be the leader of the village and therefore this possibility had never even crossed his mind. Now he wondered why, because even if Sasuke didn't want it, it wasn't necessarily the same for the elders. The Uchiha was strong, so strong there wasn't anyone in the village to rival him – except Naruto. And the blonde had always believed in himself and in the villagers too, but to have Sasuke chosen over himself... He had never felt as crushed by pain and disappointment than he had at that moment. It had been enough to make him lock up in his apartment for three days to keep fighting the negative feelings. He hadn't wanted Sasuke to see him like that, he didn't want the man to think he had done something wrong to Naruto, and therefore the blonde hadn't come out before he was sure he could smile at his dearest friend without th e bitterness. He wanted to be happy for Sasuke and not feel the bitterness eating him up.

"Naruto, I know you're awake! I'm... I'm going to break the door!" The loud voice finally had Naruto dragging himself to the door, and by the time he opened it, he had already figured out wasn't Sasuke.

Round green eyes stared at him with a look that mixed confusion, joy and bits of fear.

"Uh..." Despite all the yelling she's done to get him up, Sakura seemed to be at a loss of words as she stared at Naruto with that look in her eyes, and then all of a sudden she was hugging him, her face buried to his neck.

Naruto wasn't sure what to do so he just set to awkwardly patting Sakura's back, wondering what was going on and why she was looking so odd. It wasn't before she stepped back and wrinkled her nose in disgust that he let out a breath he'd been holding.

"You stink, Naruto", she scolded with strained voice, and then slapped him on the back of his head.

"Hurry up and go take a shower, Hokage wants to see you!"

Something heavy sank into Naruto's stomach and he felt nausea welling up as he glanced at Sakura unsurely.

The woman just shook her head and folded her arms across her chest impatiently.

"Don't be an idiot, I'm talking about Tsunade. Now, the shower!"

"Yes, mom", Naruto grumbled although the relief flooding over him was almost unbearable. He wouldn't have been ready to face Sasuke in that situation just yet. With another groan he headed off to the shower, still feeling Sakura's eyes on his back as he walked. It was funny how she still went mother hen over him at times, even now that they were both 24. He really wasn't a kid anymore, he didn't need to be watched over all the time. And just to prove his maturity, when he reached the bathroom door the blonde turned to look back at Sakura and stuck his tongue for a nanosecond before disappearing into the room, dodging a shoe flying at him as he went.

He was back in fifteen minutes, and neither he nor Sakura spoke as she led him to the Hokage tower. The nausea that had already passed with the shower threatened to come back as Naruto kept mentally preparing himself for the conversation that he knew was coming. Tsunade just wanted to be nice and tell him about Sasuke so he wouldn't fall apart when the raven would be officially asked to take the place as the village leader.

The tower was quiet as Sasuke knocked on Tsunade's door, waiting for an answer before entering, bringing Naruto in her tow.

"We're here", the young woman announced with a little bow.

Naruto tried to flash the blond-haired woman a bright smile.

"Morning, granny!" he greeted Tsunade, but even as he tried his best the look was still lacking some of its usual charm and brightness.

"Good morning, brat", Tsunade answered with a voice that sounded oddly serious to Naruto. She gave Sakura a curt nod and the young woman backed off to the corner of the room, standing there in silence with a masked anbu guard.

Even if Naruto couldn't see it, he knew Sakura was watching him, studying his reactions. He could feel his stomach cramping a little as he kept his eyes on Tsunade, waiting for the woman to get on with it. The faster this would be over, the better.

The Hokage cleared her throat and gathered the papers in front of her in a small pile before looking up at Naruto, the look in her eyes extremely serious.

"Well, Naruto... I'll go straight to the business. I'm sure you know about my retirement already. It isn't exactly a secret." She gave him a wry smile, and at that moment Naruto noticed how much older the woman looked than she had ten years ago, despite the young appearance she still kept up.

Her shoulders were more hunched and even though she still had all her physical strength, the war had injured her in more ways than one. Jiraiya's death had been one thing; Naruto had later on learned how hard a blow that had actually been to her. And during the last week of the war, when things had culminated, she had given a bit too much of her chakra to heal others and as a result she'd been attacked by one of Madara's subordinates. The injury in her leg had never healed completely and she kept complaining about the vicious headaches she had every time the work load got too heavy. It had been almost a year ago when she'd first mentioned her plans to retire, and although she hadn't been taken seriously at first she had stayed in her decision.

Naruto, with the rest of the village, was aware of all of that, so it was easy for him to just nod and give her a little smile in return.

Tsunade nodded sharply before lacing her fingers together on the desk.

"And I'm fairly certain you've been wondering who will be chosen as my successor."

If the situation had been anything different, Naruto would've snorted. He'd been thinking about the sixth Hokage since the day Tsunade had been chosen to be the fifth, and he had always been determined that he was going to be the sixth. A few days ago that dream had crumbled down.

"I'll be giving up this office to my successor next week, Naruto", she continued, and her voice was suddenly calm and gentle, almost sad, the look in her eyes matching the voice perfectly. Her fingers, unlaced again, stroked the desk affectionately. Despite her reluctance at first and the hate she still held to paper work, Tsunade had enjoyed her time here surprisingly much, and now that it would be her time to step aside she was suddenly getting oddly sentimental.

"Well, at least I can leave this place at peace. The new Hokage is one of the greatest shinobi I've ever had the honor to know."

Naruto blinked at the statement, feeling slightly confused. He admitted that Sasuke was indeed a great ninja, but to have Tsunade saying it like that... Something just didn't really add up.

The older woman snickered suddenly and gave Naruto another smile, but her eyes remained humorless.

"Quite a stubborn and blockheaded one, sure, but great anyway. And that's why I won't be worried to hand my mantel over to him." Tsunade stood up and walked around her table, ending up in front of Naruto. The blue eyes were staring back at her with confusion clear in them and she almost chuckled again, wondering why the man seemed so out of it. She had thought it would be obvious who she'd chose as her successor.

Naruto just blinked, something odd and unexpected building up in his chest as he listened to the old woman. Deep inside he already knew that Tsunade wasn't talking about Sasuke, but he wasn't letting himself to believe it just yet, if only to prevent getting disappointed all over again.

The Hokage placed her hands on the young man's shoulders, holding them gently yet firmly, and the smile finally reached her eyes as she spoke the following words.

"So, brat, unless you already figured it out, I'm telling you now. In a week, you'll be sitting here."

Naruto blinked again, unable to process what he had just heard. His mind was hitting blank and his first reaction was to deny it all.

"But why...", he mumbled, feeling absolutely stupefied. He couldn't think, he couldn't fucking understand, what was going on- What had that paper been, with Sasuke's name on it? It had been signed by the elders as well as Tsunade... This had to be some kind of a twisted joke or misunderstanding on Tsunade's part, he had seen that damn paper and it had been official dammit, with Sasuke's name on it.

Tsunade didn't hesitate as she ruffled Naruto's unruly hair and then leaned in to kiss him on the forehead. She didn't seem to notice how utterly uncomfortable he was, she took his shock only as what was normal reaction to such a revelation.

"You heard me right, brat. From now on, it'll be your responsibility to take care of the village. The ceremony will be held next week."

Naruto nodded dumbly, his eyes blinking rapidly as he sorted out his thoughts, or at least tried to.

"But what... what about Sasuke?" he asked with a blank voice, unable to hide his shock.

Tsunade frowned lightly before patting him on the cheek.

"What about the Uchiha?"

"Wasn't he... meant to be the Hokage after you?"

At that, the older woman actually laughed out loud.

"Uchiha Sasuke? The Hokage? You must be out of your mind..."

Suddenly there was a pair of arms squeezing Naruto, but he found himself unable to answer to Sakura's gesture. Instead, he turned around slowly and gave her an incredulous look. He couldn't believe that she would've fooled him like this on purpose, but he couldn't come up with any other kind of an explanation.

She just smiled widely.

"I asked Tsunade about the paper this morning", she whispered quickly.

"It was some kind of a mistake or a prank, I'm not quite sure, but it wasn't official anyway. They never wanted Sasuke..."

That was all she had the time to say before Naruto was out of the office room, leaving Tsunade staring after him in surprise.

Naruto's heart was hammering in his chest as he ran down the street towards Sasuke's house. He could hear the blood rushing in his ears and his feet thumping the ground as he ignored the good ninja customs of moving in stealth and staying away from the public eye. He still had hard time wrapping his mind around it, but ever since he'd first heard the position of Hokage would be his, there had been only one thing in his mind; 'I have to tell Sasuke'.

Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke. That was all he could think of. He wanted to tell the news to the man, the raven had to be the first one to know about it. Oh, they could laugh at this together when it was all over, when Naruto was wearing his Hokage coat and hat and sitting in that office behind that desk, and Sasuke would be there to celebrate with him. He would see what had become of Naruto, how the blonde wasn't the dead last anymore, how he had grown and then maybe, finally, Sasuke would truly see him as an equal. It was an amazing, intoxicating feeling, and Naruto let himself enjoy it as he sprinted to where he knew Sasuke lived. He could already imagine the look of shock on Sasuke's face when he was told what had happened... It was his opinion that mattered the most to Naruto, after all.

Panting slightly out of excitement, Naruto knocked on Sasuke's door, waiting entire two seconds before knocking again, and when he still heard nothing he couldn't hold himself back. One hard kick accompanied with some chakra and the door went flying into the apartment. There was nothing to stop it, and that alone should've been enough to alert Naruto, he had grown to expect Sasuke's crazy safety measures, but now he was too happy to notice, too full of emotion.

"Sasuke!" he called with bubbling voice that threatened to burst out of sheer joy.

"Sasuke, where are you?"

Could the bastard be still asleep? Naruto checked the kitchen and the neat living room before rushing forward and checking the bathroom on his way, finally ending up in the other man's bedroom. He didn't pay a single thought to what Sasuke would think when he found out that Naruto had kicked in his front door, he could only think about finding the man and telling him the news.

Knocking loudly, Naruto opened the door to Sasuke's bedroom – just to find it empty. The covers on the bed were only slightly grumbled and to the blonde it looked like no-one had slept in that bed at least last night. His happiness deflating a little he frowned, walking around the room to make sure it truly was empty.

There was no trace of Sasuke inside. Everything looked just like when he had last visited Sasuke, nothing was out of place as far as he could see, and all things considered the raven should've been here as well.

That was when Naruto spotted the fallen photo frame on the nightstand. He hurried to it and grabbed the frame, lifting the photo upwards again . He, of course, recognized the picture immediately and he couldn't help but to smile as he remembered the day when it had been taken. Oh, the good old times when the three of them still had had enough time to really hang out every now and then. Now they were all quite occupied by their jobs and missions.

Thinking that the frame had probably just fallen down he left it up and headed out of the room, leaving the apartment entirely. Now that he thought about it, there was a space for a pair of shoes on the shoerack which meant Sasuke had to be out, and the only thing Naruto could think of were the training grounds. He was sure Tsunade would've told him by now if Sasuke had left for some secret mission in the middle of the night, and so he picked up his pace and started jogging towards the training grounds.

Again, the excitement level within him was rising, and Naruto found himself humming a cheerful song as he made his way to the said areas. After all, it wasn't all that unusual for Sasuke to leave for training this early, even in his days off. The raven sure was a freak, even now that he was already ridiculously strong he kept training like he'd done when he'd still been a genin if not even harder, and Naruto had to reluctantly admire his säännöllisyys.

His whole body was tingling pleasantly as he made his way to the training grounds, his eyes scanning the area. For once, Naruto didn't really notice all the good mornings he received, his head was still in the clouds and he only wanted to sing or dance or preferably both, but he couldn't' before he had found Sasuke. The raven had the right to know what mistake they had done.

Naruto huffed irritably and formed a seal with his hands, two identical blond-haired young men appearing right next to him in a puff of smoke. He sent one of them off to look for Sasuke on the training grounds, doing the same himself. The areas were large, and just to be sure he told the clone 2 to go through the areas near Sasuke's apartment, the grocery store and all the cafes and restaurants that might be open at such an hour. It wasn't particularly early anymore but the soon-to-be Hokage found it hard to imagine anyone wanting to come to work at this time.

When half an hour later he still hadn't found a trace of Sasuke, Naruto was finally losing some of his good mood. He had a slight frown on his face as he stalked to the gates of the village, to ask the guards if they had seen Sasuke leave earlier the day. Perhaps the raven had been signed off to another secret mission and he'd had to leave at sunrise or something, it wasn't like that hadn't happened before. The guards couldn't tell him anything though, they looked rather surprised to have him even asking.

The negative answer had Naruto growling in irritation and he puffed his cheeks, deciding to go back to Tsunade to ask if she knew anything the guards didn't. The whole situation was getting weirder and weirder and the blonde just wanted to sort things out quickly and get to Sasuke to tell him the good news.

But it wasn't before the following night that the young man started to get worried. He'd been asking around and it seemed that no-one had seen Sasuke that day and Tsunade had assured him the raven hadn't been given any kind of a special mission either. -she had also assured him that it would be wise to keep his new position as the new Hokage a secret, and so he had refrained from telling anyone. Naruto had done a couple of visits to Sasuke's apartment, only to find it still as untouched as it had in the morning. The only clue he had was the fact that Sasuke's shoes were missing from his door and that meant he had to be out there somewhere.

Naruto sighed and pursed his lips in concentration as he stood on the road right in front of Sasuke's apartment, trying to think. What could have happened? He had the feeling it might have had something to do with the conversation he'd had with Sasuke the previous day about him having to become the Hokage, but the blonde couldn't recall the entire conversation. Seeing Sasuke the first time after hearing the false news about the new Hokage had kind of wrecked up his concentration for that time, and it bugged him because he was sure there was something in his memory that would help him to find Sasuke.

Growling in frustration, Naruto closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the wall, the cold material feeling good against his skin. He remained like that for a moment, breathing in and out slowly and deeply, hoping that it would bring something to him. But nothing came, and finally he pulled back, rubbing his forehead. Geez, it had gotten really cold, his skin felt like a dead man's...

Suddenly his azure eyes snapped open and the young man stared at the wall in front of him in growing horror.. He still couldn't remember all of it, but he now had a vague idea of what he had said to Sasuke about dying. Naruto had been only half serious back then, he had known that even though he'd said it like that he would've preferred having Sasuke alive in any situation, even as the Hokage.

He didn't have to think about as he started to run, and after a moment he slammed the door open to Kiba's house, his chest heaving as he rushed inside.

"Kiba!" Naruto yelled, something cold clutching his chest.

"Come here, now, I need Akamaru!"

After a few seconds the brunet dragged himself to the hall, rubbing his eyes and looking very sleepy with his ruffled hair and wrinkled pajama pants he was wearing..

"What the hell, man? I had just gone to bed..." he mumbled, but Naruto didn't give him any time before grabbing his arm and pushing him out of the house. Akamaru followed close behind with a confused growl rising from his throat.

"Good boy", Naruto murmured offhandedly, ignoring Kiba's flailing and wild protests. He didn't stop before they were at the gates, and there he released Kiba''s arm and turned to face the other man who's eyes were squinted in anger as he stared back at Naruto.

"Oh, so you finally stopped? Now could you please explain why the fuck you have dragged me here in the middle of a night without giving me even a chance to dress up?" Kiba shovered at the end of his sentence, the pajama pants he was wearing not covering much of his skin, and the soft wind felt chilling to him, even with Akamaru pressing against his legs.

Naruto only gave him a long look before handing him a sock.

Kiba blinked in confusion, taking the sock while staring at it like it might bite him.

"What is it?" he asked, holding the sock between his thumb and index finger.

"It's about Sasuke", Naruto started, his voice sounding oddly choked and breathless as he gave Akamaru a pleading look.

"You have to tell me... Has he gone out of the village today."

The brunette's incredulous stare just got wider and he blinked again, looking at Naruto like he had lost his mind.

"I'm not even going to ask", he mumbled before holding the cloth in front of Akamaru's nose and shrugging. If this was all he had to do before Naruto would let him go to bed, he wouldn't complain. And knowing the blonde and his obsession with the raven-haired man, Naruto wouldn't let him go before he'd found his answers. And Kiba was still too sleepy to care.

The enormous dog sniffed the sock and then cocked his head at his owner, waiting for a command. As he got a mumbled one, he started sniffing the ground, and finally his nose led them directly to the gates. That was where he sat down and barked once, and Kiba turned to give Naruto a long dry look.

"Akamaru thinks he's outside. OR if he has returned, he has used some other way. Could I go back to bed now?"

Naruto nodded stiffly, and Kiba rolled his eyes, giving him an odd look before a mildly worried frown crossed his face and he stepped closer to the blonde instead of waking away.

"Are you okay?" he asked dubiously, petting Akamaru offhandedly as the dog let out a concerned whine.

"Of course", Naruto answered slowly, his gaze constantly slipping to the gate. He was at a loss of words and he knew Kiba could see it, but it was hard for him to care at the moment. His mind was already scanning possible places to where Sasuke could've gone, unexpected fear looming over him like a raincloud as he shook his head at Kiba and took a step backwards.

"I just... something has happened to Sasuke", he murmured as if that would explain it all, and like he had predicted, the brunette groan exasperatedly and rolled his eyes. Not that he thought anything particularly bad about the raven, but they were all still a bit iffy when it seemed that Naruto's Sasuke complex was coming to the surface again.

"Well... Whatever it is, I'm sure that prick can take care of himself", Kiba grumbled and stepped back, shaking his head.

"I can't believe you dragged me up for something like this... You owe me one, man. I'm going back to sleep." He turned around and started to walk away, half expecting Naruto to yell something, but as nothing came he just shrugged and picked up the speed, jogging down the street back to their warm and comfy house.

Naruto didn't even blink as Kiba left and he didn't bother listening to the other's footsteps as he went, his eyes still staring out of the gates. They were open still, and his legs itched to carry him out of the village, to look for Sasuke again. He had done it once before and it had taken him years, and now he was willing to do it again.

Swallowing, Naruto brought his hand up and rubbed his face roughly. Oh how he wished that this could be only a bad dream... He would've given almost anything if it was possible for him to go back five days in time so he could refuse to believe Sakura's words and the paper with Sasuke's name on it. If he'd just ignored it, the raven would be still here.

No, he couldn't believe the worst. Sasuke was strong, so damn strong, and he was selfish too, Naruto knew there was no way the other man would go and do something as stupid as killing himself just because of Naruto's dream of becoming the Hokage. Sasuke's own life was much more important than any stupid dreams Naruto might still be having. Yet despite all that, Naruto couldn't shake off the ominous feeling in his gut. Something just wasn't right. He glanced back at the Hokage tower with a sad smile on his face and then he made his mind.

The shadow clone appeared next to him within seconds, and Naruto sent it off to tell Sakura what was going on. She could then explain to Tsunade that Naruto wasn't running away from his awaiting duties and also what he believed was going on with Sasuke.

The clone was already running to Sakura's home as Naruto waved quickly at the gate guards that had been giving him as little attention as they usually did, and then he was out of the gates and running off to the woods.

It was dark in the forest, the moonlight didn't reach the ground as Naruto leaped through the trees with a small army of his clones scattered all around, looking for the same he was; anything that would lead him to Sasuke. Any hint would be enough, anything that could lead him to Sasuke. He still didn't have any idea of where the man could've gone to, there were so many ways to get killed...

And then it hit Naruto. With a look of concentration crossing his face, he changed direction and started running through the trees to the one place where he believed Sasuke would go to. The man was very traditional after all, and he was more predictable than he knew, and Naruto was the one who most often could guess what was going on inside his head.

The young shinobi was moving fast from branch to branch, avoiding getting hit by the smaller ones and trying to keep his mind from wandering. Naruto knew he had to concentrate, he couldn't let himself think about what might happen – or could've already happened. He wouldn't let Sasuke die. Just like he had saved Sasuke before, he was going to drag the raven back to the village no matter what. It didn't even cross his mind that he might've been a bit overly dramatic, that was how his head worked and with Sasuke he was used to having to think the worst.

Naruto didn't know how long he'd been running, but it wasn't quite so dark anymore when he came to abrupt stop as his eyes caught a sight of something that shouldn't have been there. A dark piece of clothing with something white on it hung on a small tree branch a bit lower than Naruto, and with something cold clenching his throat the blonde dropped lower, jumping from tree to tree until he reached the cloth. Immediately he recognized it as a shirt, and not just any shirt. It was one one of Sasuke's favorites, a simple black one with the Uchiha crest on the back, but there was something else to it too.

The shirt felt oddly sticky in Naruto's hands, and it didn't take a genius to know what the wet substance was. Just to make sure, Naruto brought it close to his face, and the familiar stench of blood filled his nose. Something cold grabbed Naruto's heart just then and his breath hitched as he tore his eyes away from the stained shirt and started to scan the area for any other signs of the raven. He still refused to believe what was going on, there was no way Sasuke could be dead already... There was no body though, and as Naruto clutched the shirt he started to slowly believe that it was only set to be a distraction. Even though the shirt was torn and bloody, it still didn't look like anything too deadly had happened to the raven.

The blonde turned the shirt over, fingering the fabric thoughtfully. That was when his fingers met something that definitely wasn't fabric, and instinctively he threw the piece of clothing away, jumping backwards away from it. He still wasn't far enough to dodge the strength of the explosion as fire raged through the air, the hot air throwing him farther away until he hit a tree painfully, falling down through the branches before his feet finally caught something solid and his fall stopped.

Panting roughly, Naruto made his way to the ground and then hurried away from under the burning leaves and other debris that fell from the sky. He didn't stop until he was far enough not to even smell the smoke in the air. He was still out of breath, the slight shock shaking him as he turned to stare back at where he had just come from. His face felt hot and he was sure some of his hair had been burnt in the explosion. It had come as a complete surprise and now Naruto scolded himself for being so careless. Explosion tag hidden in something like clothes was the easiest of all traps, and still it had caught Naruto by surprise. He felt ashamed, but he couldn't help the relief flooding through him as he thought about the trap. He supposed it had been set to make it look like someone had caught Sasuke and left the trap to slow down whoever was coming after him, but to Naruto it was clear that it had been set by Sasuke himself.

Taking a deep breath, Naruto turned around and started running again, making his way back to the trees. This time, though, he kept his eyes open as he jumped forward, making sure that no other trap would get him like the shirt had.

It didn't take him as long as he'd predicted, to reach the canyon also called the Valley of the End. The statues of Uchiha Madara and Hashirama Senju still stood on the opposite sides of the waterfall, water rushing between them and falling down to the river below. Some had said that statue of Madara should be removed after war when the man had been killed, but it had been left standing, if only to make sure people would never forget how much evil one man could do.

And even from the distance Naruto could see a lonely form of a man standing on the top of Madara's head and apparently gazing down at the raging waters. It was exactly like the blonde had predicted, he had known Sasuke would be here to die in the place where he'd almost killed Naruto. It was somehow very fitting, almost poetic. It was the place where Sasuke had almost taken Naruto's dream away by killing him, and here he would also give Naruto's dream back to him by dying for the cause. His figure looked oddly majestic as he stood on the top of the statue, the sky colored with beautiful pink and gold as the sun slowly rose behind Sasuke.

Slowing down, Naruto kept himself hidden within the trees as he moved closer, trying to keep as quiet as he could. He wasn't exactly sure what Sasuke was waiting for as he just stood there, not moving an inch. Yet despite Sasuke's immobilized state, Naruto had the feeling the raven knew extremely well that he was there.

He was almost at the statues already when movement from Sasuke's direction caught his attention. The young man drew in a breath and stilled immediately, keeping his eyes on Sasuke. The raven wasn't wearing a shirt and his upper body glistened in the light of the rising sun like he'd been swimming. The dark pants hugged his legs and Naruto had to bite his lip to keep from dashing out of the forest to grab Sasuke.

An unnamed emotion shook the blonde and he waited still a moment, watching Sasuke in silence. Moments passed and neither of them moved, but finally the raven knelt down and grabbed his sword that had been lying on the ground next to him. He pulled the blade out of the sheath and swept his finger along the cold metal almost affectionately before taking a deep breath and pressing his finger down against the blade. It cut easily through the skin and drew blood, drops of the liquid falling to the statue.

Naruto inhaled sharply, horrifying cold pain gripping his chest as he watched Sasuke. He could see the raven moving the blade, cutting down the underside of the finger all the way to his palm. Then he turned a little, his back to Naruto, and flicked his wrist, sending the blade sliding across his palm and arm all the way to his elbow.

That was about as much as Naruto could take. Seeing Sasuke going suicidal like that was way too much for him, he hadn't saved the man to see him killing himself for nothing.

"NO!" he yelled as he sprinted out of the forest, almost slipping twice as he rushed up to the statue, his legs shaking as he tried to be there in time. At his yell, Sasuke turned to look at him but the blade never left his arm, and as Naruto watched it pressed a tiny bit deeper, more blood flowing out.

"STOP IT!" Naruto cried out, his lungs already burning and the fear of being too late mixing inside him and creating a horrible nauseated feeling that made him want to crumble to the ground and cry. It was so strong that he didn't think he'd ever felt anything like that before, the possibility of losing Sasuke over something like this being too strong. Forcing his mouth open once more, Naruto drew in a painful breath and tried to shout as he saw the blade moving again.

"I'LL BE THE NEXT HOKAGE!"

Much to his relief and surprise, Sasuke stilled and tensed, staring at Naruto with masked eyes. And then Naruto was there, lunging at Sasuke and wrenching the sword away from him before they hit the ground together. Sasuke let out a little grunt but he didn't seem to resist as Naruto let out a loud growl and crashed on him, his forehead hitting Sasuke's chin painfully.

Naruto gasped for air, his chest heaving and whole body shaking violently as he forced himself up on his hands and knees on the top of Sasuke. His eyes searched Sasuke's face for any signs of injury or the worse, death, but he found only the usual blank stare the man was always giving everyone. The younger man still couldn't breath properly as he let out an incomprehensible noise and then buried his face to Sasuke's neck, hugging him tight.

"It wasn't... I mean... Sakura and... mistake, not you... I will", Naruto babbled in the verge of panic, hoping that it would make Sasuke believe there was no need to go and die that easily.

They remained like that for a long while, Sasuke lying still on the rock and Naruto holding onto him so tight it had to be painful to the other man. Neither of them said a word, but as he listened to Sasuke's steady heartbeat Naruto found he could draw in air again, his breathing slowly becoming steady again. He inhaled deeply and didn't even find it embarrassing as it turned out to be a sob, his breath hitching as he tried to fill his lungs once more.

After what felt like hours to Naruto, he finally lifted his face and took a good look at Sasuke's face. A slight flush colored his face as he realized his cheeks were wet and the color only deepened as he took in the way Sasuke was smirking at him.

"Shut up, bastard", he murmured before letting his head drop again to rest against Sasuke's chest, and he shivered as he felt an arm wrapping around his lower back. It was unexpected, to have Sasuke reacting at all, and he found it slightly disturbing how much he actually enjoyed the touch.

"Why would you do that?" The question slipped out of his mouth before he could stop it, and he felt Sasuke's body tense under him.

"I wouldn't." Sasuke's voice was calm and clear, not necessarily emotionless but not the opposite either.
"I wasn't going to kill myself, you idiot."

Naruto's brows furrowed but he didn't lift his head just yet, still enjoying the way he could hear Sasuke's heart beat in his chest. It was odd how comfortable he felt despite Sasuke being almost naked under him.

"Don't lie to me, I saw you with the sword", he growled, blindly reaching up to grasp the black hair.

Sasuke didn't react apart from a soft sigh, and the hand on Naruto's back slid slowly up to the blonde's neck, the moist fingertips stroking the tanned skin gently.

"Exactly. If I had wanted to die, I wouldn't have waited until you were watching."

The younger man felt he confusion only deepening at that, but the knot in his stomach was slowly fading. He opened his mouth but said nothing, and as the body below him shivered softly he realized his breathing probably felt odd on Sasuke's skin.

"Sorry", he murmured and tugged the black hair thoughtfully, his mind still mulling over Sasuke's words. They were starting to make sense to him, and slowly Naruto couldn't help feeling a bit stupid as he thought about his own behaviour.
"Why are you here, then?"

This time Sasuke didn't answer right away. His hand swept gently through Naruto's hair and then pulled at it, coaxing Naruto to lift his head. When the blonde didn't obey right away the older man sighed and tugged harder, and that time the blue eyes slowly rose to meet his.

"Dobe", Sasuke growled, his voice just a deep rumble coming from deep in his throat, and without a warning he had rolled them over.

Naruto yipped in surprise, the cold stone under his back feeling, well, cold. And wet. And all other kinds of unpleasant. Suddenly it just was really hard to care about that all, with Sasuke's weight pressing him down.

"Sasuke...", he started, glancing up at the dark eyes with a hint of unsureness in his blue orbs.

The only answer he got was a chuckle, and then a set of pale lips pressed on Naruto's own. The blonde froze, his whole body going still as he felt a tongue brushing against his lips. His mind hit blank again and all the previous thoughts about needing to convince Sasuke that things were okay left his head. What he felt instead was relief of having Sasuke here, of the man being alive, and that was all he could think of as he opened his mouth, allowing Sasuke's tongue inside.

The slick muscle mapped his mouth, pressing against his own tongue and coaxing it into action. It moved around with such sense of possessiveness that Naruto couldn't help but to shiver. Where the emotion was coming from, the blonde couldn't tell, but he sure as hell wasn't going to complain, not with the unexpected warmth coursing through his body.

Without a warning, Sasuke was sucking his tongue into his mouth, not giving it up until he'd drawn a small reluctant moan from Naruto's lips, and his hand slid up to fist the blond hair. The younger man could feel the raven's hard body pressing against his and he squirmed a little, not really sure why he felt so damn good about this all of a sudden. Sasuke was a friend, a good friend for sure, and if Naruto had thought about it a bit more he would've realized that he did tend to think 'my Sasuke' quite often. He could've easily admitted there was no other person he cared more about and he'd done that, multiple times to different people, but he'd never really thought about his affection this way. Now, though, it felt just natural to sink deeper into the kiss and Naruto gave up the control for a moment, taking all the comfort he could in the touch. The worry of Sasuke's life had affected him deeper than he would've thought.

Sasuke lifted his body a little, giving himself just enough space to reach between their bodies to undo the zipper of Naruto's vest. He didn't meet any resistance as he pulled the damn thing off of the man as well as he could, getting distracted by the way Naruto actually growled at him as he broke the kiss and then slid his hands down Sasuke's moist back down to his ass, pushing his hips down to meet Naruto's.

With a hint of amusement crossing his mind, Sasuke smirked as he felt Naruto's clothed arousal pressing against his leg.

"Lacking in action, you've been?" he asked with slightly breathless yet extremely pleased voice that sounded almost like a purr and he ground down against Naruto, chuckling in amusement as the blonde's nails pressed hard into his upper back and the full lips pulled back in a snarl to reveal the slightly too sharp teeth.

"Shut up", Naruto grunted in response, still rocking up against Sasuke as finally let go of Sasuke's back and slid his hands lower again, looking just a little bit embarrassed as he searched for something to grab, preferably clothing.
"So what if I prefer not to shag a girl every second night?"

On the top of him Sasuke stilled for a moment, his hands that had been pushing up Naruto's shirt stopping altogether, and the man arched a brow.

"Are you saying that I do?" he asked incredulously, sounding almost slightly offended.

Frustrated, Naruto had to fight the urge to slap the raven for being such an idiot and stopping touching him, but instead he flashed a sly grin and shook his head, the rock feeling funny against the back of his head.

"No. I'm saying that you're the egoistic type to jerk off in front of a mirror" he informed the other man before letting out another growl and tugging at the midnight black hair demandingly.
"Now get on with it, bastard."

Sasuke blinked, barely having the time to wonder where the hell that had come from and completely missing his chance to get pissed off at it as he felt a hand sliding from his backside to his front and slowly rub over his arousal. His hips bucked down against Naruto's hand immediately and he inhaled sharply, grabbing Naruto's hair with both hands and pulling until he had the blonde's throat exposed. His mouth moved to ravage the smooth skin, sucking on the pulse point until he knew there would be an angry red mark there, and he kept rocking down against Naruto, feeling the man moving with even more eagerness with him.

Naruto let out a little groan as he felt the lips finally leaving his throat and then there were hands pulling his shirt over his head and he wiggled out of it willingly. The hands that weren't his had moved down, pinching his nipple on the way before starting to tug at his pants, trying to yank them off. The blonde grunted as he pushed Sasuke up a little to get an easier access o his pants, his hands shaking a little as he started undoing his fly.

If the younger man was embarrassed about his ramen boxers he didn't show it even when Sasuke smirked at him in amusement, and instead proceeded into removing Sasuke's pants.

"Naruto?" A loud yell from the forest stilled them both. Naruto stared up at Sasuke with wide, shocked eyes and he could've sworn he saw panic flashing in Sasuke's for a second. Sakura's voice called Naruto's name again, and Sasuke was off the ground and Naruto immediately, fixing his clothing until he looked just as good as he had when Naruto had first laid his eyes on the man.

Naruto, on the other hand, wasn't quite as quick. He had barely gotten up from the statue when Sakura appeared from the forest. Her eyes didn't rest on Sasuke for long before they slipped over to Naruto as she ran closer, and then she stopped abruptly, staring at Naruto's hands that were still pulling up his pants and trying to yank up his collar to hide the hickey he knew was there.

"Naruto?" she questioned with shaking, incredulous voice, glancing from Naruto to Sasuke to Naruto and back again.

"I..." Naruto didn't know what to say. He felt his face heating up again and he couldn't look at Sasuke, and that was all Sakura needed to hit him in the head.

"You can't keep doing that!" Naruto raged as he slammed the door to his work room shut after himself. He was wearing his full Hokage outfit, hat included, and he would've looked rather impressive if his face wasn't bright red from embarrassment as he turned back to the special jounin Uchiha Sasuke.

The said raven was standing in front of Naruto's desk, a knowing smirk on his face as he watched his Hokage. The dark eyes were glinting mischievously in a way that often did not happen, and it only seemed to infuriate Naruto more.

"I'm serious, Sasuke! What if someone had seen him? Uh, you? It?" The younger man stalked closer to Sasuke, looking like he was going to punch the raven. The image was somehow ruined by the obvious tent in his pants that was visible as he moved again and the Hokage coat moved aside.

"You could've kicked him."

"And everybody would've thought I peed my pants while talking!" Naruto was yelling already, only a couple of steps away from Sasuke. He was shaking from anger as he clenched his hands into fists and gritted his teeth, obviously trying to hold back. There were still guards standing outside the door and the new Hokage didn't want to attract their attention by starting to rave at Sasuke.

The coat and the hat had officially been his for a little over a month, and it was also the same amount of time that he had been somewhat together with Sasuke. They had never said anything about it to each other, but after that incident on the statue Naruto had found himself spending nights at Sasuke's place, and more importantly, Sasuke's bed.

The statue thing had never been discussed properly, but Naruto knew that Sasuke hadn't been trying to die. It had touched him so much to know that the raven had been ready to leave the village for his sake, but on the other hand it also scared him a little. That was why he enjoyed his new position as the Hokage a lot, it gave him the power to supervise Sasuke a little. Not too much, that would've freaked the other man out, but now he at least knew where Sasuke was going when he left for missions, even the most secret ones, and the raven seemed to be a bit more open now that they spent their nights together.

On the downside, Sasuke was enjoying this too, a little bit too much actually. For the last few times Naruto had been making public speeches, a water clone of Sasuke had appeared from nowhere, and... Well, caused him the tents. And it was pissing Naruto off.

"Kakashi almost caught me today! It needs to stop, you bastard." Naruto was so close to Sasuke now that he could almost feel his chest brushing against the older man's.

Sasuke didn't appear too bothered by the proximity, though, the smirk just curved his lips even more and finally he shook his head.
"If you're so frustrated about it, do something about it."

And Naruto did. He slammed his lips on Sasuke's, grabbing the dark hair with both hands. The raven kissed him back with just as much passion, wrapping his arms around the Hokage and pulling him closer as his tongue pushed into Naruto's mouth and the blonde's clothed erection rubbed against his thigh.

Naruto wasn't sure how everything happened so quickly, but before he could even draw a breath he found himself sitting on the edge of his desk on the top of all his important papers with his pants drawn to the floor. He was still wearing his boxers though, but they did little as Sasuke stood between his legs, grinding his hips and drawing low moans from Naruto's lips. IT was so hard to concentrate, the almost blowjob he had received during his speech had pushed him so close to his limits already. His hand slid down Sasuke's chest, thumbs hooking to the waist of his pants and he tugged roughly, waiting for Sasuke to pull back so he could remove the pants.

What did surprise Naruto a little was the fact that Sasuke was apparently going commando. He hadn't been prepared to have Sasuke's pretty well-endowed cock bouncing out of his pants quite yet and practically to Naruto's hand, and for a moment he found himself just staring at it with surprise written all over his face, the heat still flooding through him. No matter how many times he saw Sasuke's dick, it never failed to make him feel a bit odd in the beginning.

"Something wrong?" Sasuke finally interrupted, his voice reflecting impatience as he stared down at Naruto.
"Is my cock really that fascinating?" A little smirk appeared, and then immeidately widened as the blonde finally looked up at him with flushed face.

"Shut up", Naruto grumbled and then drew in a deep breath before carefully wrapping his fingers around Sasuke's erection.

The touch brought a low hiss out of Sasuke's lips and his eyes narrowed although he still held Naruto's gaze, challenging him to continue.

Grinning impishly, Naruto started to slowly move his hand, stroking Sasuke's cock languidly and enjoying the sense of power he held over the man at the moment. It was quite amusing, actually, to see the usually so controlled and calm raven get like this. It was almost the same to when they were sparring, Sasuke was slightly flushed and his lips were parted as he breathed heavier than normally, but this time there was also lust in those dark eyes, the desire he saw making Naruto's own body tremble in excitement and anticipation.

An unexpected rush of heat coursed through his body and Naruto let out a tiny groan, letting go of Sasuke's cock when the raven's hands pulled at his boxers and lifted his hips, finally releasing his leaking cock from the confines of fabric. The air that surrounded his member felt almost cold and the blonde whimpered at the loss of contact as the older man backed away just a little bit.

Sasuke leaned over the table and pulled out the top drawer, grabbing a bottle of lubricant. He didn't waste time covering a couple of fingers with the substance and brushing them over Naruto's entrance, the muscles tightening and relaxing under his touch.

Naruto pushed his hips forward a little, glaring at Sasuke irritably.
"Hurry up, bastard", he growled and grabbed Sasuke's hair again with one hand.

The older man smirked a leaned closer, capturing Naruto's lips to a lusty kiss as he pushed two fingers inside the blonde. The muscles around the digits clenched immediately, trying to push him out but Sasuke didn't give up, he waited until Naruto had himself under control again and before moving them a little.
"C'mon, dobe", he murmured close to Naruto's ear, spreading his fingers inside the other man's body.
"Tell me how it feels."

Naruto flushed lightly again and he was glad Sasuke couldn't see his face right now. It was taking most of his concentration anyway to keep his body from resisting Sasuke's fingers too much, it wasn't so easy in the position he was currently in.
"Fuck off", he groaned and wrapped his fingers around his cock, stroking himself slowly to distract himself from the pain.

"Already?" Sasuke asked in response, and without a warning the third finger slid inside, making Naruto groan and shudder. The blonde tried to say something but failed as Sasuke rotated the fingers a little bit and then curled them, his fingertips rubbing against a certain spot inside Naruto that he couldn't do anything but moan.

"Right there, Sasuke, again", he pleaded and his eyes almost crossed in pleasure as Sasuke obeyed, massaging his prostate for a moment.

The raven sure had wicked fingers, and after a moment Naruto was squirming on the edge of the table, with Sasuke's free hand being the only thing keeping him from falling off. The man was panting roughly as he gave Sasuke a long look before burying his face to the older man's neck.
"Hurry up, Sasuke, fuck me already", he grumbled before another moan escaped his lips thanks to the added pressure of the raven's fingers.

Sasuke obeyed almost immediately, pulling his fingers out and wiping them to the sleeve of Naruto's coat. The Hokage didn't even notice, that caught up he was waiting for Sasuke to do something and hating the empty feeling that always came after being filled with either Sasuke's fingers or cock. When the raven seemed to be working way too slow, Naruto grabbed the lube bottle from him and opened it, warming the substance between his hands before starting to stroke Sasuke cock to spread the lubricant all over him.

"It's fine", Sasuke snarled after just a couple of strokes and swatted Naruto's hands away. He grabbed the strong thighs and spread Naruto's legs even further apart, almost pulling him off the table in the process. The first thrust tore a low groan from Naruto's lips and Sasuke grunted as he worked his way all the way inside. He could feel Naruto shaking, and then the blonde wrapped his legs around Sasuke's waist, pulling him closer.

Sasuke leaned forward again, pressing his lips on Naruto's and keeping their mouths locked together to keep the noises down. They couldn't afford having a guard checking in on them, and that was why Sasuke kept his pace deliberately slow.

His back arching in pleasure, Naruto slid his tongue against Sasuke's and pushed his hips forward, trying to get the most pleasure out of every thrust he was given. His fingers raked through Sasuke's hair and down his back before one stopped to wrap around the raven's neck and the other slid lower. He curled his fingers around his cock and started stroking it, his moans muffled by Sasuke's mouth on his. It was highly sensual experience, doing it on his work desk, the same desk that had been used by other people before them and it was also the desk he would be using for the next years for his work. The anbu guards were still outside the door but Naruto couldn't bother thinking about them, all that mattered was Sasuke's cock inside him and his mouth on his, and the hot pleasure that raged through him and made his stomach tighten.

Naruto tore his mouth away from Sasuke's as he felt his body going tense.
"Sasuke, I'll-" And without further warning he let out a horse cry that Sasuke couldn't block in time and his chest stained with white strings of cum.

The muscles tightening around his cock did the trick for Sasuke, and he bit his lip to keep silent as he came, slipping out of his lover immediately. He leaned in to press a quick kiss on Naruto's lips still before stepping back and wiping Naruto's chest clean with the hem of the Hokage coat, a satisfied smirk playing on his lips. He pulled up his pants before he went to help Naruto dress up again. He was almost halfway through pulling up Naruto's pants when someone knocked on the door, and Naruto was on his feet in a second.

There was no time for anything else, so the blonde just rushed to sit behind his desk, pulling the coat to cover his crotch right as Sakura opened the door.

She stopped in the doorway and smelled the air suspiciously, turning to look at Naruto who squirmed very uncomfortably on his chair. From there her gaze slid to the table and the papers that had fallen to the floor and then to Sasuke who's hair was for once somewhat ruffled.

"Oh my god", she groaned and turned on her heels, slamming the door shut behind herself.
"Take your time cleaning up!" The sentence sounded rather muffled through the door but it didn't matter, it was enough to make Sasuke smirk.

"She sure has the worst timing."

Naruto just rolled his eyes and quickly pulled up his pants, then trying to comb his hair a bit with his fingers. His hat had fallen to the floor at some point but he didn't really feel like getting up just yet.
"Very funny. What if she walks on when we're in the middle of it the next time?"

Sasuke just shrugged.
"Keep going, of course."

"That's not what I'm talking about, bastard! I meant-"

"Whatever, dobe. Now get up, I feel like taking a shower."

Naruto frowned.
"Why do I have to get up if you're the one who wants to shower?"

"Because you're place is closer. And I'm not going to shower alone."

"...oh." And suddenly Naruto decided that the possibly damaged documents on the floor could wait until tomorrow.

The End