Title: The Muse

Summary: Sasuke's behind on his studying and the last thing he needs is Naruto's incessant babbling on the phone about music, of all things. But is the blonde going to pass up an opportunity to de-stress his best friend? 'Course not. NaruSasu.

Words in chapter 1: 5265

Warnings: This is a one-shot NaruSasu (if I had to choose whose name went first) AU PWP (which I now consider to stand for "plot with porn" due to my inability to write plotless one-shots).

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto, etc.

I'll be honest – I'm stalling for time with Two Face. It's just that the ending is rushing up to meet us and I can hardly bear it! So today, as a Christmas/New Year present, you get a lovely rambly one-shot about a violin maker and his muse.

Naruto set his tools down on the desk and sat back in his chair with a deep sigh. He rubbed his eyes, shut off his lamp, and stretched. Sometimes he swore to himself if he saw one more violin he'd snap and smash it to pieces before feeding it to the fireplace. But he knew he never would. Though he pored over the delicate curves and minute details day after day, often to the point where he could no longer tell whether or not he'd made a mistake, smashing a violin would be to him like burning a book or destroying a religious statue to others. It was paramount to a sin, unless of course there was an irrevocable mistake, in which case he was delighted to eradicate the mutilated specimen. But Iruka always had a pained expression on his face when even the most flawed piece had to go, like he was killing his own babies. So Naruto did it when his master wasn't around.

He wasn't, now. Iruka had gone to do the week's groceries, leaving his nineteen-year-old apprentice to man the front should anyone come looking to buy an instrument. They did pretty well, for a two-man team; Iruka's instruments – not just violins, but violas, cellos, and the odd double bass too – were always masterpieces and sounded like angels on high, and though Naruto had only been in the trade for a few years his creations served beginners and novices well. He hated them, though. Iruka always said he was doing great for the amount of experience he had, but it was hard to accept words like that from a man who made instruments that could pour liquid gold sound, a man who was always too busy with specially commissioned pieces to make any for the shop anymore. Naruto loved Iruka's violins. When he played them, he could feel the love and care his master put into his work, and it inspired passion in Naruto as well, to make as much music as possible, to fill his ears and heart with that beautiful sound. When he played his own instruments, they felt dead. They were missing that spark of life, and he just didn't know how to find it.

He sighed and, with a piece of buttered toast in his mouth, shuffled back into the workshop to check his cell phone. It was almost brand new, but already there was wood dust in the cracks. He needed to stop leaving it in the workshop. There were no messages, of course; he'd been gone for all of five minutes and the only people he ever had cause to contact were Iruka and Sasuke. Genius Sasuke, studying something hopelessly sciencey at the local university. Naruto had met the bastard at the age of seven because Sasuke's own parents had considered adopting him. It'd been a rainy day – Naruto remembered it, because he'd felt so miserable waking up that morning to the sound of pattering and the dark grey sky, but his hopes had shot up when the nice lady who looked after him had said he'd be having a visitor. Naruto had put on his best clothes, brushed his hair and his teeth, and put on his most winning smile. The family had come in – a stern-looking father in a business suit who looked like he hated children; a warm, kind mother who was determined to help her late friend's orphaned son; and two boys. The older one must have been fourteen at least, and to Naruto he seemed unimaginably smart. The little one was Naruto's age, and was clutching his brother's hand tightly, glaring at Naruto with hostility. And the moment they'd set eyes on each other, the first thing that had come out of little Sasuke's mouth was:

"He's stupid. I hate him."

Naruto could have cried. He could've opened his baby-blue eyes wide, and trembled, and run sobbing to the orphanage lady. But maybe he'd wanted to look brave for the family in front of him, or maybe he'd gotten sick of all the bigger orphans bullying him. Sasuke didn't look all that tough. Naruto could take him. So he set his brow in anger and replied, "Yeah, well, at least my hair doesn't look like a duck's butt!"

And from that moment on, they'd been inseparable.

They didn't end up adopting Naruto. The mother had really wanted to, but the father simply would not allow it. He already had his hands full with Sasuke, he'd said; Itachi was never a problem, but Sasuke was on the verge of being a nuisance and if Naruto were introduced to the family the head of the Uchiha family swore he'd never get a decent night's rest. But that didn't stop Sasuke's mother inviting Naruto over to their house all the time, because after they'd been separated at the orphanage for fear of hurting each other and the Uchiha family had disappeared to talk with the head of the orphanage, Naruto had stalked off into his room to find solace in his violin. He'd started playing the minute he was big enough to actually hold the smallest size of violin that existed, and it was the only thing he'd asked for, so the orphanage had managed to find one for him. And when his parents hadn't been watching, Sasuke told Itachi not to say a word and disappeared to find the source of the music. Once they'd realized Sasuke was missing, they searched and found him sitting on Naruto's bed, rapt with attention as the little blonde played his heart out.

It didn't really matter that Naruto hadn't been adopted, because he spent so much time at the Uchihas' house that he may as well have been a part of the family. He ate with them, went out on excursions with them, helped around the house. He grew up with Sasuke; he fought with him, learned with him; and when they were eleven, Naruto cried with him when his parents were killed in a car crash that no one believed was an accident. Naruto didn't leave Sasuke's side for days afterwards. While Itachi, barely eighteen and suddenly thrust into adulthood, was busy handling all the business and paperwork, Naruto made them meals, looked after the house, and crawled into bed with Sasuke every night. Sasuke pulled out of his endless adoration for his older brother and found solace in Naruto instead. They spent long days absorbed in music, Naruto pouring out his sorrow through his playing, Sasuke falling asleep to the sound of Naruto's requiem.

Sasuke rarely asked Naruto to play for him anymore now. He visited almost daily – although the frequency had dropped in past weeks as Sasuke's university work piled up – and sometimes he came into the house while Naruto was in the middle of practicing, and he'd sit and watch and listen, absolutely silent, sometimes for up to an hour before Naruto realized he had an audience. But he never requested a song or asked Naruto to continue once he'd stopped. Once Naruto stopped playing, that was it, and they'd sit chatting while Naruto worked on making a new instrument, or retreat into his room to play video games, surf the web, or just lie side by side in Naruto's bed and not say anything.

It had been months, now, since Naruto had last played for Sasuke. He'd practiced and practiced, but he was at a standstill. Iruka was convinced Naruto was just coming to a plateau, a point in his skill where his improvement would flatten out for a while before continuing to climb. "They always show up," he'd said. "Don't worry. Just keep working at it and you'll soon clear it."

But try as he might, Naruto just couldn't get past it. And he wanted to show Sasuke the new piece he'd been working on learning, because after all, Sasuke was the one who found it and challenged Naruto to learn it. But even after a year, Naruto didn't know it well enough to be worth performing, even for his best friend. So he put down his phone and picked up his own personal violin, the one Iruka had made especially for him when he turned eighteen. It was a beautiful work of art, delicate, varnished a dark, deep red, and the sound it made was so warm and clear and sweet that Naruto swore it could dispel rainclouds.

So he practiced. And he kept practicing and practicing, trying to push past his unmoving art block, until even through the thick calluses on his fingers he could feel pain and his arm was about to give out from holding up the instrument for so long and if it wasn't his own beloved instrument he would have snapped its fragile neck. Instead he carefully set it back down in its case, grabbed his phone, and rang up Sasuke, setting up the earpiece and microphone so he could have his hands free while he talked. Like it or not, carving out new pieces for violins was quite a good way to relieve stress, and he often turned to his craft when his art wasn't cooperating.

"What do you want?" came Sasuke's voice the minute he picked up.

"Well hi to you too," Naruto grumbled, shaving a paper-thin curl of wood off what would eventually be the scroll of this violin. "What's up?"

"I was studying, before a certain idiot interrupted me," Sasuke replied. "I don't suppose you're doing anything of note, you lazy ass."

"Hey! I'll have you know I'm in the middle of carving. And I was practicing before that. Not that I got much accomplished there. It's like no matter what I do I just can't get anything right."

"That's because you never do get anything right," he snapped. That wasn't true, of course; Sasuke had spoken out of irritation, but it didn't really matter because Naruto ignored him anyway.

"I keep narrowing it down," he continues, heedless of Sasuke's tone of voice, "and trying to focus on small parts that I can improve one at a time. But then it I narrow it right down until it feels like every single note is wrong, which it just can't be, because I'm still playing the whole thing. And anyway, I can't just practice a single note for hours. It's not really the notes; I can play them all in tune and everything, but I just can't get the feeling of the piece right! I try and I try, but it just doesn't sound like it should…"

"Naruto…" said Sasuke in a deliberately slow voice.

"Whaaaat?" he whined.

He tried to remain calm. "I'm trying to balance this equation, Naruto, and your annoying drone isn't helping."

"Well sorry, but this is important," he says. "Nothing's working. I can't even make a decent violin anymore. Never mind how they sound; I can't even get the shape right. I always make the scroll too big, and then by the time I'm done shaving it down it ends up too small and I have to start over again, and I swear the pegs are the most annoying little buggers to carve, and – shit." Naruto's hand had slipped, his chisel leaving a deep gouge in the wood. "Ugh, great. Now I've got to carve the whole thing in again. Good thing it's just this side, or I'd have to use a new block of wood too. Where's the sandpaper? I swear, we never have enough sandpaper. I don't know where it all goes – we always buy tons, but we never have any. D'you think some animal's coming in and stealing it or something? Sasuke, do you know any animals that eat sandpaper?"

"Nothing eats sandpaper, moron, it's sand," he replied, scribbling some numbers. He checked his equation, then growled in frustration and erased his answer to try again.

"I'll have to ask Iruka," Naruto sighed, and sat back down again. "Well, I'll have to make do with the chisel. Hey, Sasuke, I just thought of something! I should teach you how to make a violin."

"No," he said flatly.

"Aw, come on, it'd be fun! I know I always gripe about it, but really it's fun. You already know how it all works from watching me. You just need to try it yourself. Why don't you come over and—"

Sasuke's pencil snapped in his hand, driving a splinter into his finger, but the pain hardly registered in his brain as he shouted into the phone, "I don't have time for fun, retard! I have a massive headache. I've got two exams tomorrow. I can't figure out half of these fucking chemical equations, I haven't memorized any of the formulae, I'm missing two whole lessons of physics notes because my idiotic lab partner's gone and lost them, and I haven't even looked at the organic chemistry unit yet. My neighbour's dogs won't stop barking at each other, and if I fail any of these I'm not getting a degree, and I'm sick of your fucking voice!"

Naruto sat, stunned, as the shouting faded into heavy breathing over the phone. Then he heard a tiny moan of desperation and a flump, as though Sasuke had given up on holding his body upright altogether.

"…Sasuke—" he began.

"Save it."

Naruto bit his lip, his brow furrowed. "Fine then," he clipped, and snapped his phone shut.

"Good riddance," Sasuke muttered. He turned his phone off. With that distraction gone, he returned to his worksheets, determined to tackle the lot.

But he couldn't. He gave up on the first equation after a while, telling himself he'd come back to it, but found himself unable to solve any of the others either. He moved on to the formulae he was supposed to be memorizing, but they slipped from his mind like sand between his fingers. He couldn't concentrate on anything but the hurt in Naruto's voice as he'd said, "Fine then."

The stupid idiot had no right to feel hurt. Sasuke legitimately needed to study and his environment had already been less than ideal before his phone had gone off, and then suddenly he was getting an earful about playing the same note for an hour and animals eating sandpaper and he'd fucking had enough.

Sasuke stood up so quickly that his chair tipped back, clattering to the floor. He ignored it and stalked out of his room, stomping down the hall to the kitchen, where Itachi was making lunch.

"Time for a break?" Itachi asked Sasuke. "I was just about to bring you some sandwiches, but if you want to eat here go ahead."

Sasuke snatched a cucumber sandwich from the plate and stuffed it into his mouth. He slumped down at the dinner table, scowling. Itachi cleared up, then brought the plate to the table and sat down across from his little brother, who was already reaching for another sandwich.

"Take it easy," said Itachi gently. "You'll choke yourself."

"That'd be nice," Sasuke growled. "Then I wouldn't have to do all these fucking exams."

"You didn't have to take it out on Naruto."

"Don't listen in on my phone conversations, you ass."

"I was doing my best not to, but I have to admit that the volume of your voice rather insisted I hear it."

Sasuke pouted and pulled his feet up on the chair, resting his chin on his knees. "Smart-ass."

Itachi smiled and stood. He put a hand on Sasuke's head, gently ruffling his hair. "You've been up since seven, studying non-stop. I think it's about time you put your mind to something else for a couple of hours."

"I don't have a couple of hours to spare," Sasuke said, his tone almost desperate. "I can't even list all the different isotopes of—"

"You'll be fine. If you don't give yourself a break, you won't work as efficiently. Consider it another form of preparation for the exams."

"Whatever." Sasuke grabbed the plate of sandwiches and wordlessly took them to his room.

"I'm going out for a bit," Itachi called after him. "There's chicken in the fridge if you get hungry."

"'Kay," Sasuke called back noncommittally. He shut himself in his room, set his chair upright, retrieved his phone, and had turned it on before he remembered why it was off in the first place. No calls, no texts. When he checked his email, he found his lab partner had finally unearthed the lost notes and sent him scanned copies. Feeling marginally better, Sasuke printed them out and got back to studying. But he still couldn't focus. His eyes kept flitting to his phone, as though he was waiting for someone to call him. Finally he caved and dialled Naruto's number.

No one answered. Sasuke frowned. The phone was on, which meant Naruto hadn't cut off contact like Sasuke, but he wasn't answering. Was he genuinely upset? Did he see Sasuke's name show up on his phone's screen and decide to ignore him? Sasuke had to admit he'd been a little insensitive. Just because he wasn't personally interested in music and violin craft didn't mean it wasn't important to Naruto. He knew better than anyone the time and effort Naruto put into his work. Naruto sold his creations and made money performing; by all rights he was doing better than Sasuke, who'd had to quit his part-time job in order to focus on his studies. And there was just no way you could condemn a violinist when the music they made was so sweet and beautiful. Sasuke sighed as Naruto's voicemail came up.

"Uh, Naruto?" he said, once it started recording. "Listen. Sorry for shouting at you. I didn't mean to, it's just… I'm really stressed out right now. Tomorrow when my exams are done, I'll make it up to you, alright? Call me back if you get the chance."

He hung up, then sighed again and shut his textbook. Well, there would be no chance of him studying now that his mind was preoccupied with memories of Naruto's violin playing. Even though the dogs had finally shut up, Sasuke wouldn't be able to get his mind off the music. It had been so long since he'd heard that sound; that favourite melody of his that Naruto had learned to play the minute he found out Sasuke loved it. He'd only made it better through the years, having over a decade to master it and embellish it. He could almost hear it, ringing clear as a bell, the melody soaring higher, lifting his heart, making even the birds stop to listen…

His eyes snapped open. The dogs had shut up. The birds weren't singing. And, faintly, he heard the one distinctive sound he loved more than anything.

Sasuke practically tumbled down the stairs and wrenched the front door open. There stood Naruto, playing the violin on his front porch, completely engrossed in his music. He finished the piece with a flourish and lowered the instrument to smile at Sasuke.

"Thought you could use a little serenading," he grinned.

Sasuke couldn't help returning the smile. As if he'd ever doubted the idiot.

There were a couple of sandwiches left, so Sasuke led them to his room and offered them to Naruto, who devoured them upon realizing he hadn't had anything for lunch. He'd waited only long enough for Iruka to get home, then he packed up his violin and took off, telling him he had something really important to do. In the rush, he'd forgotten his phone.

"What a lie," Sasuke scoffed, shutting the door behind him. "You didn't even specify what. I bet he's seen right through it."

"It wasn't a lie," Naruto shrugged, smiling. "How's the studying?"

Sasuke glanced at his textbook. "Well to be honest, I hadn't gotten anything done for half an hour before you called, so it wasn't your fault anyway. I've just had a rough week."

Naruto nodded sympathetically, having heard much of the same when they'd chatted in the past few days. "Anything I can do? I could quiz you, or help you make flash cards, or—"

"Play me a song," said Sasuke.

Naruto stared.

"Well, don't just sit there. Play something. It's what you brought your violin for, right?"

The blonde slowly split into a smile. He stood and settled his violin on his shoulder. His face took on a look of total concentration as he slipped into that special mode of his, the frame of mind where nothing mattered but the music. Sasuke watched the passion take hold of Naruto's mind and body, directing his bow strokes, his flying fingers on the strings. He played a long series of tunes, airs and waltzes and folk songs that flowed seamlessly in a single medley Naruto had worked for years to piece together, and pure gold poured from the instrument. The world around them fell silent again, holding its breath so as not to miss a single note. Sasuke's headache faded away, his mind clearing like it hadn't for – for months. He'd been unsettled ever since he'd stopped hearing Naruto's music. Now, as the violinist turned all eyes and ears onto him, Sasuke felt drawn to him – felt his muscles moving themselves as he slowly stood and moved towards him. Naruto's eyes were closed, his whole being focused on the sound, the instrument he held and manipulated with such skill and beauty. Sasuke's arm lifted of its own accord, his hand reaching out to Naruto's face. The moment his fingertips came in contact with one of the scars on his cheek, Naruto's eyes flew open, but he barely had time to stop playing before lips met his.

In that moment, that single moment suspended in time, there was no sound, no movement – just warm lips pressed gently together, the presence of fingers against a cheek.

Then a bird trilled outside, shattering the silence. Sasuke wrenched himself back, shock clearly written in his eyes, embarrassment beginning to colour his cheeks.


"I – I wasn't – I didn't—" Sasuke backed into the wall as the realization sank in. He'd acted on instinct – not instinct: he didn't know what to call it. But really, it wasn't anything new, this feeling. The tingling that lingered on his lips was, but his heart was used to the rest. He took a deep breath, suddenly calm although his heart was still pounding, and waited for Naruto's reaction.

Naruto watched Sasuke for a moment. Then he touched his fingers to his lips, a look of wonder in his eyes. "Sasuke…"

It wasn't denial or disgust, and that was all Sasuke needed. "Keep playing," he whispered, stepping closer once more.

Naruto looked confused, but obeyed. He gathered up his courage and began the piece he'd been working on for so long, the new one he'd learned for Sasuke. He poured himself into the music, putting all his heart, all his emotions into it, playing for Sasuke and Sasuke alone. And Sasuke felt it as he circled around Naruto, as he slid his arms around the blonde's waist and held him close, hooking his chin over Naruto's shoulder as the music went on. Sasuke took a deep breath, inhaling Naruto's scent, the smell of the workshop – varnish, sawdust, and Naruto himself. His lips pressed against Naruto's neck, then his tongue; he nibbled at Naruto's pulse and the blonde gasped, but his playing did not falter. He leaned in to Sasuke's touch, pressed his hips back into Sasuke's, and Sasuke took that as assent. His hands slid down Naruto's strong abs to his hips, finding the place where his pelvis stuck out, rubbing the spots gently. He slipped his fingers under Naruto's shirt and undid the buttons, working his way back up, revealing tan skin, a taut stomach, a broad chest. He tweaked a nipple, earning a small moan. His hands felt every inch of skin they could find, although he couldn't remove Naruto's shirt because that would mean making him stop playing, and there was no way he could have that. So he pulled Naruto even closer, their bodies flush, and reached down to the button on Naruto's jeans.

Naruto moaned as Sasuke's hand found its way into his pants, rubbing his member through his boxers, quickly bringing it to attention. He found it difficult to concentrate on playing, but he kept going, because his heart felt like never before, and his fingers found their own way to each note, hitting it perfectly, his bow drawing the most beautiful sounds from the vibrating strings at every stroke. And as he coaxed sound from the violin, so did Sasuke's strokes pull moans and groans from Naruto's voice, working his responsive body better than any instrumentalist.

Sasuke circled around again, ducking down to kneel in front of Naruto. He wiggled Naruto's jeans down his hips just a little, then reached into his boxers – Naruto moaned loudly – and pulled out his now rock-hard member. Sasuke stroked him a couple of times, licked his lips, and took Naruto into his mouth.

"Shit—" Naruto's knees shook and he nearly missed a note, but still he played, brow furrowed in concentration as Sasuke's tongue swirled around the head of his erection, then pressed into the slit. The music became more frenzied and urgent as Sasuke began to bob his head, sucking as he pulled back, teeth nipping at the tip now and then, until Naruto could hardly bear it anymore; he deliberately sped up, held the last chord for as long as he dared, then set his violin down on the desk just carefully enough not to break it and grabbed a fistful of Sasuke's hair.

"Enough teasing," Naruto gasped. He urged Sasuke to stand up right again and kissed him hard, groaning at the taste of himself on Sasuke's lips, and pushed him back onto Sasuke's bed. Sasuke toppled over the footboard, his grip on Naruto's hips bringing the blonde down with him, and before long they were grinding and feeling and panting into each other's ears, overcome by passion. Sasuke finally got Naruto's shirt off; Naruto yanked Sasuke's sweatpants down with his briefs and in moments had his erection at full mast. He lowered his hips and ground into Sasuke, skin on skin.

"Shit," Sasuke gasped, shoulders pressing back into the mattress as Naruto's hot, hard member pressed against his own. "Nnh – Naruto…"

Sasuke's hand floated towards Naruto's face again, his fingers tracing Naruto's strong jawline, his thin scars. Naruto turned his head and kissed Sasuke's fingertips, then opened his mouth and licked them, sucking on them. Sasuke moaned at the feeling, his grip around Naruto's waist tightening, his toes curling. He bent his knees; his legs, between Naruto's, pushed the blonde's further apart. When Naruto finally let Sasuke's fingers fall from his mouth, Sasuke pulled him into a scorching kiss, reached down, and sank one finger knuckle-deep into Naruto's entrance.

Naruto's breath left him all at once; he tore away from the kiss, wide-eyed, staring at Sasuke, who just smiled at him almost triumphantly. But Naruto had no cause for complaint; he doubled his pace into something frenzied, bucking forward against Sasuke's rigid cock, then back onto his slick finger. Sasuke added another finger and rubbed Naruto's inner walls, and as he brushed one spot Naruto's back arched sensually and he buried his face in the nape of Sasuke's neck with a drawn-out "Fuuuuck…"

They moved together, kissing, touching, their rhythm as fast as they could make it; they spiralled upwards, their bodies engulfed in heat, in each other, and nothing was heard but the music of their voices melding together, their hot breath, the creaking of the bed. Naruto whispered Sasuke's name repeatedly in a string of hisses; Sasuke murmured incessantly into Naruto's ear. They pressed further into each other and Naruto grabbed them both and pumped until the tension in his abdomen snapped and he came, shuddering, his muscles clamping down on Sasuke's fingers. Sasuke moaned at the feeling, at Naruto's tongue on his neck and his hand still stroking him firmly, and he writhed in Naruto's arms as his pleasure overflowed, his seed spilling onto his stomach.

Naruto's arms shook with the effort to hold himself up, but Sasuke just put a hand on his back, buckling his support. They lay there together, too hot, too sweaty, but too satisfied to care. Naruto weakly reached up and stroked Sasuke's hair, a brilliant smile on his lips. Sasuke sighed and kissed Naruto's cheek.

"I think," Naruto murmured, "I've found my inspiration again."

"You played better than ever," Sasuke replied equally quietly.

A knock on the closed door scared them both out of their wits. "Sasuke? Naruto? I'm home," said Itachi's voice. "Need anything?"

"No," Sasuke snapped. "Go away."

There was a pause, then: "Alright." They couldn't mistake the amusement in Itachi's voice.

In retrospect, as Naruto bade the Uchiha brothers goodbye and headed home, he figured Itachi probably hadn't missed the husky exhaustion in Sasuke's voice either. But he'd said nothing when they'd finally cleaned up and ventured out of Sasuke's room for dinner a couple of hours later. Naruto couldn't help laughing to himself at the idea of Itachi interrogating a squirming Sasuke, but he knew they'd be alright. Really, it was nothing new, this… all of this. Perhaps neither of them had seen it coming, but it didn't surprise them. And when Naruto had snuck a goodbye kiss from Sasuke at the door, he'd seen Itachi over Sasuke's shoulder, watching them with a silent smile on his face.

When he got home, Naruto worked tirelessly into the night, perfecting his scroll and getting halfway through the peg box. It would take him another two weeks to finish the instrument, but he'd done a good two days' work by the time he dragged himself up the stairs, eyes barely open. He was asleep before he hit the mattress, but was all smiles and sunshine the next afternoon when he went to pick up Sasuke after his exam.

"Miss me?" asked Naruto, winking. He'd sat in the garden on Sasuke's campus where he knew Sasuke would come through when he was done. Sasuke didn't even notice him until he stood up, nearly making Sasuke bump into him.

"How long have you been here?" asked Sasuke, surprised.

"Well, your exam was minimum one hour, right? So I got here around four." He grinned. "How was it?"

"It was a breeze," said Sasuke. "I swear I learned more studying last night than I have all term. But Naruto, it's nearly five now. Have you really been here a whole hour?"

Naruto shrugged. "I've been performing."

It was only at this that Sasuke noticed the violin case sitting on the bench behind Naruto, a heap of coins and even a couple of bills carefully collected in a compartment under the bridge of the violin. "Busking, eh? That's beneath your level," Sasuke scoffed.

"I've got a performance this weekend," said Naruto lightly. He dug into his pocket and flashed a pair of tickets. "Front row seats for my best bud and his brother. How about it?"

Sasuke smiled and plucked the tickets out of Naruto's hand. "You know I wouldn't miss it for the world."

Naruto touched Sasuke's hand, lowering it, and both their hearts sped up just a little. "Don't mix up the tickets, though," he said with a slightly crooked smile, "because one's got a backstage permit on it. My prep room is number 10. Be there an hour early, okay? I think I could use the… inspiration."

Trust me, there was a lot more backstory than this. I cut out about half of it because it had nothing to do with the conflict of the story, and I still think I left in more than I should have. Sure, it helps justify their current relationship, but does it really matter, for a PWP?

The relationship between "violins" and "sex" was inspired by a film called The Red Violin. It follows the titular instrument through the centuries as it's brought to various musicians across the world, made famous by its mysterious red varnish… It's a good film; if you can get your hands on it I recommend watching it. But then I'm a musician to the core and I've played the violin for several years, so maybe it's just me. It's still an incredible concept, though.

I was considering turning this into an original story in which an orphanage violin prodigy boy meets a family who doesn't adopt him but may as well have. Since I eventually settled for keeping it as a fanfiction, the backstory details had to go and I wanted to mostly keep to their relationship. It ended up being a ton more about violins than I'd planned, though – in fact, originally they had no place in the story, as Naruto was just going to be an apprentice in some trade or other and end up going to de-stress uni-student Sasuke with a distracting chat and maybe a massage. But feh – happy ending massages are cliché! Sex and violins is… unique, to say the least. And anyway, by the time the violins had worked their way into the story, I forgot how I was going to make the massage bit more interesting, because A) I've read it before and B) I've written it before.

I promise Two Face will update next week!