A/N: This is for one super wonderful Marinav92, for making my very FIRST COMIC, of Raiden and Aimi, accessible from my profile! pls leave feedback for her tireless skills if you decide to check it out. I'm thinking of putting it as my screen saver^^
And now for the ritual 'first': First crack fic.
Beta: Blood Zephyr
Notice Me, Dobe
"If you don't start paying attention to me, I'm running away. Watch." Sasuke pretended to be inspecting his nails as he said this.
"I do pay attention to you."
"I talk to you, and fight with you, and act jealous when Sakura-chan chases you. What more do you want?"
"I want you to pine for me and chase me just as hard as, if not harder, than Sakura."
"Yeah… that's not happening." Naruto rocked back in the rickety metal chair, his hands braced on his forehead.
Sasuke threw back the blanket and got out of the hospital bed. "Fight me. Right now. On the roof."
"What for?" Naruto continued to stare at the ceiling, rocking his chair.
"So you can acknowledge my power and realize that you should feel drawn to me."
Apparently, this did the job of getting Naruto's ever-absent attention. His chair legs thumped to the floor as he squinted up at Sasuke. "Feel drawn to you," he deadpanned. "By fighting you. Sasuke, you do know that something's seriously wrong with you, right?"
Sasuke had crossed the room on tiptoe. He peeked into the corridor now before waving his hand frantically for Naruto to follow. "Let's go. Hall's deserted." Naruto huffed and complained on their way up to the roof until Sasuke hissed at him to be quiet before they were discovered.
"Yes! Yes! Oh, don't stop, Naruto! Harder, Harder!"
Naruto backed away from Sasuke and regarded his own fist for a moment. "You seem to like getting punched a lot these days," he said uncertainly.
Sasuke came at him again, diving off the chain link fence. "Keep fighting me, don't stop! Feeeeeel the sexual tension!"
"What I feeeel is sick of you putting those wrestling moves on me. We're ninja. Fight like one. All that grabbing and hugging is gross." Naruto put his head back and groaned. "Are we done yet? It's hot up here."
"Don't be such a kill joy. We're just getting started."
Naruto turned for the door just as Kakashi-sensei appeared in it with Sakura. "I'm going to get some ramen. See you later, Sasuke."
Sasuke scowled at his retreating back. "I really will leave," he called to Naruto. "I mean it!"
Kakashi, who'd felt their spiking chakra from outside the hospital, stopped Sasuke from running after his teammate. "You and I need to talk," he said.
"You just don't understand what I'm going through," Sasuke grouched later. He and Kakashi were in a tree. "I have to get more powerful or he'll never notice me."
"I understand very well, Sasuke. Trust me when I say that the path you're on will lead nowhere. Naruto has to come around to seeing your feelings in his own time."
"You don't know, not really. How would you act if the one person you had feelings for ignored you?"
"The one person I had feelings for not only ignored me, but he also had feelings for someone else. Trust me, doing the things you're doing won't change matters," Kakashi said gently. "You can't force things like this. Think about what I said."
Sasuke was doing just that when four people landed on his branch. "You," the fat one said. "Come with us. Orochimaru wants your body."
"Yes," Sasuke breathed. "Orochimaru, I forgot about him. He can give me power and then Naruto will notice me for sure. Guys," he said as he stood up. "Wait for me, 'kay? I'm going to go pack."
At his apartment, he looked long and hard at the photo of his team. "Just you wait, Dobe. I'll make you see me." He shoved the photo into his bag, and ran to meet his escorts.
"Sasuke, don't go!" Sakura halted him. "Or, at least take me with you. I love you, I'll do anything you want."
Sasuke halted. "Anything?"
"Anything, I promise!"
"Make sure Naruto comes after me."
"I… what? That-"
He was gone.
Naruto blinked. "What? No he didn't!"
"Sure did," Shikamaru confirmed. "You, me and some other completely unqualified noobs are supposed to go rescue him. Can you believe it?" He yawned.
"What I can't believe is that dickwad actually ran away like he's been threatening to. Lemme get my jacket."
At the village gate, Sakura made a lot of noise. "Naruto, promise me you'll bring him back! Swear it!"
Naruto rolled his eyes. "And where do you think I'm going? Not out for ramen."
"Yeah, yeah, I promise." He waved her away with a roll of his eyes.
"Sasuke, quit screwing around and come back to the village already. Been chasing you for days!"
Sasuke turned around on the statue of Madara with a satisfied smirk. "I knew you'd come for me! Are you ready to notice me now, Dobe?"
"When are you going to notice that I do notice you? I wouldn't be here otherwise."
"You have to show it. You have to want me."
"Sasuke, will you give it a rest? This has gone far enough; look at you, you're all mutated. Come back before something worse happens." Naruto edged toward him.
"I did this all for you," Sasuke said with a hurt expression. He ran a hand down his long, gray hair. "You think I'm ugly now?"
"I think you're crazy to give your body to Orochimaru."
"Ha! So you are jealous! I knew it! Come to me, Naruto!" Sasuke held his arms open, eyes closed and head thrown back.
Naruto edged a bit closer still. "Just come back with me to the village, you big dummy. We can talk about-"
Sasuke lowered his arms. "Talk about what? Don't you want me?"
"I want you to stop this madness." Naruto succeeded in latching onto one of Sasuke's wrists.
Realizing Naruto was still ignoring him, Sasuke pulled away. "You're the most important person to me, Naruto. I'll make you acknowledge me. Guess I have no choice but to show you my power. "
Which left Naruto no choice but to counter with his own power. He gave it his best, but it wasn't enough.
Sasuke knelt at his former teammate's head. He had an urge to kiss him, but didn't want to do it while Naruto was unconscious. "I'll find a way to make you notice me, just you wait."
Naruto disinterestedly opened yet another door in the hideout that was supposedly the base for Orochimaru and Sasuke. "I can't tell you how sick I am of this ongoing mission to bring this inconsiderate bastard back to Konoha. As if we all have nothing better to do. You guys find anything?" he called with a groan of boredom. Sakura and Yamato-sensei called back that they'd had zero joy so far.
An explosion was heard deeper in the hideout. Naruto shoved the manga he'd pulled out of his pocket back and pushed off from the wall. "Finally. I don't even care if it's not Sasuke, so long as I get to succeed at a mission for once."
Once he'd sauntered outside, he stopped behind Sakura. He had to shield his eyes with a hand to see Sasuke standing in the rays of sunlight above them. What the hell kind of outfit was that?
"Sakura. Naruto," Sasuke intoned haughtily.
Naruto squinted in disbelief. The halves of Sasuke's shirt fluttered open dramatically, showing- "Dude… is that oil on your chest?"
"I'm surprised you actually remember me," Sasuke sniffed. "Took you long enough to find me."
"Unbelievable," Sakura whispered to Yamato-sensei. "He's still obsessed with Naruto."
"Too long," Naruto was saying. "Look, why don't you just stop playing games and come down from there? Come on back to the village."
"There's nothing for me in the village," Sasuke taunted. "No one there cares about me."
Naruto ignored this invitation to spill his guts in a declaration of love. "If that was true we wouldn't be here. And you care about us too, or you would have killed us a long time ago."
Hurt, Sasuke pursed his lips. "I don't care about you anymore, Naruto. I'll prove it to you." He leapt.
Naruto took a moment to note the way Sasuke's hand rested on his shoulder. "Sasuke?"
"Why are you wearing cologne in a secret hideout that's in the middle of nowhere?"
"You like it?"
"How long are you going to stand here breathing on my neck?" Naruto wanted to know.
Sasuke left off nuzzling the blond hair to whisper, "I've learned a lot with Orochimaru." His hand strayed to the zipper on Naruto's jacket. "Want me to show you my 'sword'?"
"Uh, no thanks." He stopped Sasuke's hand from pulling his zipper down. "Just come home with us, okay?"
Sasuke yanked himself from Naruto's grasp and leapt back to his former position. "Broken record much? I'm not going back unless there's something to go back to! Look at my power, Naruto!" He raised a hand.
Orochimaru appeared. "No need for that."
Before Orochimaru and Kabuto whisked him away, Sasuke offered a parting comment to Naruto. "The only way I'll be going back is if you drag me back." Then he was gone.
"Great," Naruto huffed. "Looks like I'll be going through another mindlessly difficult training period that will only prove to be as ineffectual as the rest. I'm really starting to hate this fool." He turned and stalked his way back into the hideout.
An undetermined amount of time later…
Naruto caught Sakura before Sasuke could finish her off, and carried her to safety. He turned to face Sasuke after setting her down. "Dude, when is this going to stop? Look at you, you were ready to kill Sakura. I don't even know you anymore."
"That's right, you don't," Sasuke sneered. "And I'm done talking. You and I will never be able to communicate through words, it seems. The only way to get through to you is to take away everything you love, to go after Konoha. Then you'll be in the same boat as I'm in. You'll see how I really feel, and finally see me."
"If you come after Konoha, I'll stop you. We'll both die."
"Then we die," Sasuke shrugged. "Unless you want to fight now?"
Madara and Zetsu appeared to take Sasuke back. Sasuke shrugged their hands off him, waiting for Naruto's answer.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Naruto snapped. "Why do you care about me so much?"
"Because we're all each other has," Sasuke answered. "I've fought you many times, Naruto. I can see how you really feel. Acknowledge it, acknowledge me, or I'll be seeing you over Konoha's ashes. I'm done ranting at you. If you won't notice me in this world, then maybe you will in the afterlife."
Madara whisked Sasuke away.
All through his training with Killerbee, and seeing his mom, and mastering himself, Naruto gave Sasuke's words a lot of thought.
It was meeting his mother that really swayed him, though. Being in her presence, even if only in his mind, had been better than anything he'd imagined, and he'd imagined meeting his mother thousands of times over the years. He'd wondered what she was like, how she looked… when she'd left, he'd felt such an ache in himself. And she'd only been in his head a few minutes. Sasuke had known his parents for seven years and then had his entire family killed off.
"So maybe you're not escaped from a mental institution like I've been thinking. Maybe you're just lonely."
Sasuke nearly jumped out of his skin at suddenly hearing Naruto's voice behind him. "H-how'd you get in here? Madara said this place is top secret."
Naruto idly picked his nails, flicking a speck of dirt from beneath one. "Tracked you by your negative emotions." He glanced up casually, looking around. "Have to say though, the whole underground cave thing is seriously overdone."
"What are you doing here?"
Instead of answering right away, Naruto ambled around Sasuke's space, taking in the few items on the dresser. He sifted through scrolls, looked at the moisture-covered ceiling, picked up a book. He paused in his wandering to flip through the pages of the book, speaking with his back to Sasuke.
"Back when kids used to tease and insult me, I got really good at keeping how much their taunts hurt me inside. Got really good at hiding most of my feelings, actually. Maybe too good." He put the book down, picked up a photograph he recognized. He turned with it, held it up. "I can't believe you kept this. I guess mine got destroyed when Pein attacked the village."
Sasuke licked his dry lips, tracking the way Naruto absently walked toward him. Naruto wasn't looking at him, he was looking at the picture, but Sasuke felt the approach was deliberate. "You were saying something about your feelings?" he prompted hoarsely.
"Huh? Oh. Yeah." He reached Sasuke, who was standing at the foot of his bed, and tossed the framed photograph onto the mattress behind him.
"And I'm not going to go back on years of keeping my feelings inside to have a big melodramatic scene with you… but it's like I've been telling you. I do notice you. I always have."
Sasuke felt a heat wave douse him as Naruto stepped closer, staring into his eyes. "You have?"
Naruto nodded slowly, holding Sasuke's gaze. "I notice things you think no one knows."
"Like how you're afraid of spiders, and how the reason you don't like sweets is because your mom always used to make them. They remind you of her. Like how you hate the color yellow, and listen to Clay Aiken and Charlotte Church CD's when you think no one's around. Like how you have nightmares at night that keep you awake. It's why you always volunteered for first watch whenever we were on missions. You didn't want anyone to see how afraid you were to sleep."
"Oh," Sasuke said in a small voice. He suddenly couldn't breathe. This close, he could see Naruto's faint freckles. "I… thought you didn't care."
"Well, I do. I just don't see a need to go screaming about it from rooftops. I get enough grief about the Kyuubi without adding people's homophobia to it. And now that I've finally acknowledged you, will you set aside this whole rebellious teenage angst crap?"
Sasuke felt heavy disappointment settle on his shoulders. He shoved past Naruto. "Should have known that was the only reason you'd say those things. All you care about is getting me back to the village."
Naruto caught Sasuke by the arm and rolled his eyes. "I'll take that as a no." He spun Sasuke around and kissed his sullen mouth lingeringly. When he pulled away some seconds later, he addressed the sleepy-looking black eyes. "Is that clear enough for you?"
"Maybe," Sasuke said as he turned into Naruto.
Naruto gave him another kiss, this one more forceful. "How 'bout now?"
"I don't know… you've spent years making me think-"
Naruto reached around Sasuke and lifted him against his body by cupping his ass. The kiss was long and hot. Sasuke's arms nearly choked him, but he held Sasuke just as tightly.
Sasuke thumped back to his heels in a daze, feeling himself pressed against the hard, narrow surface of his bedpost. Naruto was in the process of kissing his neck, a place on him that had never been touched. His nails dug into the bedpost hard enough to leave dents in the wood. He panted openly. "Say it."
"Haven't I said enough? Aren't I doing enough?" Naruto moaned between kisses and soft bites.
"No and no. Say it."
"God, Sasuke. It's so cliché." He pulled back, disgruntled and annoyed. "I say the words, you say them back, then we both get naked and have perfect sex, and skip happily off into the sunset. Come on, is that really how you want this to end?"
"I don't skip," Sasuke muttered moodily. He folded his arms. "What do you suggest then?"
"How about us getting out of here? Madara might come back at any minute and I'd just as soon not be here when he does."
Sasuke waved a hand. "He's off getting the Rinnegan. Should be awhile. I don't think I'll be welcomed back to Konoha, Naruto. I'm staying here." He moved to put some distance between them.
"We can do all the cliché things you want," Naruto sing-songed cajolingly. "Come back with me, face your punishment, and I promise I'll say the words, and do the nasty, and whatever else you want. No more holding out."
Sasuke paused. "Promise?"
"Cross my heart."
"What if they don't take me back?"
Naruto shrugged, walked back over to Sasuke. He leaned in and dropped a soft kiss on his lips, paused, then dropped another. He rested his arms loosely around Sasuke's neck. "Well, then you'll still have me."
"Will I? Naruto-"
"I promise. I won't let you get away again, or ignore your feelings, if for no other reason than that I can't take another four-year mission of chasing your crack." He gave one last kiss.
Sasuke kissed back this time. He pushed against Naruto, then held him still by his hands in the sunny hair. "Took you long enough to notice me, Dobe."