Written for summer 2010 SNexchange.

Sasuke heard the first knock at the door, but under the pretense of pretending not to have heard it, he kept on reading through a new scroll he'd checked out of archives for research purposes. He kneeled next to the kitchen table, tapping a pair of chopsticks against the rim of a half-eaten bowl of rice.

The knocking did not stop. Sasuke continued to read studiously, memorizing the routes going into and out of the busy spa town they'd be infiltrating near the border of River Country. There had been several reports as of late that the resort's more affluent, liberal clientele had become the victims of extortion. Couples would visit, hoping to relax, only for one partner to be kidnapped and held until a ransom could be paid by the other partner. Intel suggested the guerrilla group responsible had plans to take their plots even further by expanding their terrorist activities to include violent attacks on the town.

"Ha. Ha." A voice called sarcastically through the door. "This is real funny and all, but let me in. I know you're in there, Sasuke!"

Sasuke raised his eyes and glared at the door, fingers brushing over the edge of the scroll. Slowly, he got to his feet, and, in no rush to let Naruto inside, he left his hand to linger on the doorknob.

"What's the password?" he asked, tipping his chin up and enjoying the exasperated groan the taunt earned him, as well as the kick against the door.

"Do we really have to do this? I'm carrying heavy bags here! Can you stop being an ass and let me in?"

"Password first."

Naruto kicked the door again. "What password?"

"Say it."

"How the hell should I know what the password is to get inside your house!" Naruto asked impatiently. "How about the password is: 'I'm going to hand your ass to you if you don't open this damn door now!'?"

Smirking, Sasuke gripped the knob more firmly and pressed his forehead against the door. "I'm waiting."

"I'm gonna kill you for this! You realize I can break it down if I want, right?" Naruto growled. "Open up or I'm gonna use Rasengan!"

Sasuke decided to open the door. In front of him stood Naruto, eyes narrowed and arms filled with heavy-looking paper grocery bags. He had a grungy backpack hanging off his left shoulder and was dressed in casual attire.

"You were never very good with passwords," Sasuke drawled, leaving room for Naruto to make his way in, but not offering to help him out with whatever he was carrying. "Shoes."

"You're so damn bossy! You could've at least helped me carry these bags inside!" Naruto toed off his sandals after setting the bags on the kitchen counter. He wound his arm out of the strap of his pack and threw it on the floor where it made a dull thud.

Sasuke studied the bags warily. "What's all that?"

Grinning, Naruto shrugged and ran a hand through his wild hair. Humidity had it sticking to the sides of his face. "Oh, y'know. Stuff for tonight. Since we're having a sleepover."

He decided to disregard the 'sleepover' comment as they were both perfectly aware it was not. Sasuke took a few cautious steps toward Naruto, who was leaning against the counter. He shot Naruto a curious look before peering inside the bags. It was all junk food.

"What's this?" he asked.

Naruto chuckled. "So your vision is going bad."

Sasuke glared. Naruto put his hands up in front of him in placation, taking a few steps backward.

"Oh right," he said, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. "Sore subject still, huh?"

Sasuke ignored him and went to the table to grab his bowl and chopsticks. He set the dish in the sink, not failing to notice the way Naruto's eyes followed his every movement.

"I'm going to go shower now. Don't touch anything." He glanced over his shoulder as he headed for the main hallway. Naruto was already taking out the bags of chips, packages of cookies, and what appeared to be a single bottle of sake.

"Hey, how are we supposed to prepare for this mission if you're already treating me this way?" Naruto asked good-humouredly. He caught Sasuke's gaze and winked at him.

Sasuke grunted and turned his back, stopping in the doorway to mutter hastily. "This mission is a joke."

Sasuke had taken a quick shower, not wanting to leave Naruto alone in his house for any prolonged period of time for fear of what would happen to his valuables. He'd pulled on a loose pair of dark gray sweatpants, hair still dripping as he proceeded to dry it with a towel. Naruto was sitting cross-legged beside the table, reading through the scroll he'd set out earlier.

He looked up as Sasuke approached and blinked rapidly at him as if he'd changed into a compound question involving indefinite conditions and physical analysis. "Wow! You're really wearing them!"

Sasuke ruffled the hair at the back of his head with the towel. Self-consciously, he touched the part of the frames that went over his ear and tried to make it seem as if he was simply pushing his hair back.

"I thought they'd help me fit in better as a civilian," Sasuke remarked about his glasses and kneeled beside the table, opposite Naruto.

The bit of skin between Naruto's fair-colored eyebrows wrinkled. He frowned meditatively at Sasuke. Apparently, he came to his own conclusion on the matter however, because he soon shrugged and returned to studying the scroll, tracing the blueprints of the city with the index finger of his right hand.

"Are you worried about there not being enough exits in the town in case everyone has to be evacuated?" Naruto tapped a spot on the scroll that Sasuke had earlier deemed a weakness with the town's layout.

Sasuke neatly folded the towel and set it beside himself on the floor. "I'm more worried about the undercover roles we'll be taking than I am the least favorable outcome we could encounter with that boss and his mercenaries."

Naruto tilted his head and gave him a strange look, as if he had no qualms with this particular covert operation. "I dunno. It is known for being that sort of town."

Sasuke glanced away from him, lowering his gaze to his fingers which were spread apart on top of the table. "I don't see why two ANBU are required for a mission like this. I know Konoha is stretched thin, but it's hardly a good use of resources. The town's better off relying on its local police forces."

"Maybe what you really don't like is being paired with me. Sorry, but the squads have been slow to recruit many female ninja lately, and the majority of couples who visit the town are known to be… you know. And so what if it's not within ANBU jurisdiction? It's fine even if it's a diplomatic gesture of good will on Konoha's part."

Sasuke answered with a dubious look. "Regardless. Any mission with you has the potential for going awry."

Scoffing, Naruto planted an elbow near the table's edge and cradled the side of his face with his hand. "That's hardly true. I always have your back," he said.

Sasuke shrugged. He grabbed for the scroll, rolled it up and tied it.

Naruto refused to let it drop. "Hey, you really think I'm that incompetent? I'm not gonna screw this up!"

"It wouldn't surprise me if Kakashi teamed us up solely because you still need a babysitter on most missions."

Naruto looked wounded by the comment. "You don't really think that."

Sasuke didn't respond.

"Wonderful," Naruto said, shaking his head. "A team always works best when there's absolutely no trust between teammates."

Sasuke stared at him but remained silent, carefully keeping his expression emotionless because he didn't want to deal with another one of Naruto's dramatic and self-righteous monologues.

He changed the subject. "I haven't had a chance to congratulate Sakura on her promotion yet. Have you seen her around recently?"

Naruto's features immediately softened with pride, and he seemed to forget Sasuke's critique, or at least was able to put it aside for the time being.

"Yeah. Briefly." He answered with a wistful smile. "It's cool to see that we're both ANBU, and she's practically running Konoha Hospital on her own since Shizune and the old bat went on that diplomatic mission to Suna."

Sasuke nodded curtly. "When are they due to return?"

Naruto chuckled, absent-mindedly rubbing the bridge of his nose, a gesture Sasuke had come to observe happened when the other ninja found something to be terrifically amusing.

"Well, if you ask Kakashi, he says he doesn't mind how long they stay out there," said Naruto. "But they're scheduled to be back in a few weeks."

"I'm sure the Kazekage is loving that."

Naruto laughed, the sound low and deep. Much different from when they were boys of 12. "I'm sure he's not. But Gaara has the patience of a saint. I'd be surprised if anything gets to him."

"That explains how he can be such good friends with you."

"Oh?" Naruto rubbed his chin at the slight, eyes bright with humor. "I thought that came from, I dunno, saving his life?"

Sasuke grunted. He watched Naruto rouse himself from the table and walk to the counter, bare feet padding over the wooden floorboards, his strong calf muscles shifting just under the hem of his rolled-up black cargo pants.

"So I got us a bunch of snacks and," Naruto grabbed for the bottle of sake, "I had a feeling I may need this if we're supposed to spend the night bonding. There are definitely perks to being 20." Without permission, he started rifling through Sasuke's cabinets. He retrieved a couple of ivory-colored sake cups that shared a simple geometrical design under their rims. Naruto stacked them together, and they wobbled precariously in one hand while he carried the sake bottle in the other. He set a cup in front of Sasuke and poured for them both.

"Cheers!" Naruto smiled as he clinked his cup against Sasuke's.

Sasuke curled his fingers around his own cup, thinking it might just be an effective way to loosen up and relax around one another. After all, it was true that they'd be spending a lot of time together over the next two weeks, and it would be important, considering the mission parameters, that they should keep up appearances. And that required getting along with each other.

Naruto was on his way to pouring himself another as Sasuke brought his first to his lips, sniffing it out of habit to surmise its quality. It was cheap, no doubt, but it was adequate, warming his tongue and throat as he swallowed it with grace.

He licked his lips as he set the glass on the table. "Not bad."

"S'okay," Naruto said, making a so-so gesture with his hand. He turned his body away from the table to stretch his legs out in front. Naruto had closed his eyes, tipping his head up toward the ceiling, issuing a deep sigh.

Sasuke studied his profile. The light in the kitchen seemed to cast a glow on Naruto's bronzed skin; he always became very dark in the summer months. Sasuke glanced at the underside of his wrist, vaguely considering the paleness of his skin.

"Don't worry. We'll have plenty of downtime over there. You may be able to get a tan yet," Naruto commented as if reading his mind.

Sasuke dropped the hand into his lap, resting it on a thigh. He opened his mouth to retort about the need to take this mission as seriously as any other but was cut off.

"Damn though, Sasuke. I really cannot get over you wearing glasses."

Sasuke blinked once at him as his eyebrows drew up ever so slightly. "I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment or not."

"Can I try them?" Naruto reached out with every intention to take them off, but Sasuke moved on reflex to slap his hand away.

"Hands to yourself, Naruto," he teased in a gentle tone.

"Hmph." Naruto forced a pout that did not move Sasuke in the least and poured himself some sake. He then leaned over the table to refill Sasuke's cup, as well. "At some point, I may have to touch you during this mission," he said playfully, eyes locking with Sasuke's. "You're not gonna whack my hands off with your katana are you?"

The comment made Sasuke smirk a little. He wrapped his fingers around the cup, squeezing it a couple times before bringing it to his mouth to sip. "We'll see."

Naruto reclined on his arms, knees pulled up and feet pointing inward as he distractedly rocked back and forth on his hands. "So what's next on the agenda? Wanna watch a movie? I have a couple good ones in my backpack! We can make some popcorn, too, and chill out for a while."

This appealed to Sasuke because he was hopeful the movie would attract Naruto's attention and keep him quiet for a couple of hours.

"Sure," he agreed.

Naruto's eyebrows arched in suspicion. "That was easy."

Sasuke shrugged and began to stand.

"You grab the sake," Naruto ordered, "And I'll bring the popcorn."

Sasuke froze, not liking the idea of Naruto operating any of his appliances without him being there, fire extinguisher at the ready. "Maybe I should take care of the popcorn," he suggested.

Naruto was busy unzipping his pack, rifling through the contents when he sent Sasuke a glare. "Sasuke. Seriously. I'm not as useless as you still seem to think I am. Do you really believe I'm gonna burn down your house?"


Naruto sighed and shook his head as he pulled out the movie and a deflated bag of kernels.

"I find it hard to believe after all these years you have about zero faith in my abilities," Naruto complained as he, once again, went through Sasuke's cabinets in order to find a pot.

Sasuke followed him into the kitchen, opened the appropriate cabinet (below the counter, not above), and found an adequate pot. He handed it to Naruto. "I wouldn't say 'zero.'"

"Whatever, bastard. Here's the movie." He shoved it at Sasuke's chest. "I'll have the popcorn ready by the time it's gotten to the start menu."

Naruto turned his back to him as he switched the burner on and set the pot atop of it.


"What?" Naruto grumbled and glanced over his shoulder.

Pointedly, Sasuke looked at the pot, then at Naruto. "Don't burn it."

Naruto rolled his eyes. "The house or the popcorn?"

"Either," he answered and walked out of the kitchen, movie under his arm as he listened to Naruto's complaints.

With a smirk, Sasuke gathered the sake bottle and cups and headed toward his bedroom, the only room in the house with a TV.

As the ending credits scrolled across the TV, it became impossible for Naruto to keep his mouth shut about the lead actress.

"Wow, that Princess Yukie babe is still as hot as ever, isn't she?" Naruto had one of Sasuke's pillows clutched to his chest, hugging it tightly and swaying with fan-boy admiration. "She's gotten even better at acting than when we met her, don't y'think?"

Sasuke sat beside him with his back against the wall. "She's okay."

"Tch. I bet she'll win an award for that performance," Naruto said, giving Sasuke's shoulder a shove.

Sasuke glared half-heartedly at him.

"It's always cool to see a movie about ninjas, isn't it? Y'know, 'cause we're ninjas and we know how shit really goes down." Naruto dropped the pillow into his lap, gathering his legs underneath him. He settled his elbows on top of the pillow. "I only wish some of our missions really went like that with all the drama and intrigue. S'good thing they weren't making a movie that followed the lives of Genins, right?"

Sasuke inclined his head toward Naruto. He felt relaxed and a bit tired. He should probably insist they go to sleep since they had a train to catch in the early morning.

"I remember that one mission where we had to find the feudal lord's wife's cat. What was its name?" Naruto scratched at his hairline.

"Tora," Sasuke answered.

"Wow! I'm impressed. How do you remember that?"

"Maybe I remember it because after that you threw a fit in front of the Third."

Naruto laughed, drumming his fingers over the pillow in a fast rhythm before they fell still again. But restless once more, he began tracing the folds in the cotton with his fingers.

"Hey, but at least that led to our first real mission," he defended.

"I haven't thought about that in a long time," said Sasuke.

Naruto puffed out his cheeks and blew a large breath through his teeth, features tight with sudden concern and a lingering melancholy. "S'been a long time, hasn't it?"

"It has," Sasuke agreed. He removed his glasses to rub at the bridge of his nose.


Sasuke slipped the glasses on again. "Hm?"

"I was just wondering," Naruto's gaze flickered away nervously only to return to Sasuke. His hands fidgeted on the pillow. "Your eyes…? Y'know? Your sight? Is it…?"

"What about it?"

"You're… not gonna go blind, are you?" Naruto questioned. Hair had fallen in front of his eyes, and he moved to push it away, mouth parted in anticipation.

Sasuke stared at a non-descript spot on the ceiling. "I don't know."

Naruto made a disgruntled noise. "Well that's reassuring."

"The glasses are mostly for show, Naruto, and they're temporary. But they were also made to put less stress on my eyes when I'm not using the sharingan."


He felt himself growing defensive. He was already well aware how his eyes could be a handicap. "If you're worried about my capabilities as your partner on this mission-"

"No," Naruto cut him off quickly. "That's not it at all. I mean, shit, Sasuke. I couldn't ask for a better partner to have on a mission. I was just… concerned is all. I've heard things."

Sasuke's mouth pulled into a sneer. "Things? What things."

"Just… things."

When he turned his gaze on Naruto, he found the other ninja watching him with mild apprehension.

Naruto bit his bottom lip. "Anyway. M'gonna change."

He attempted to crawl over Sasuke in order to reach the other side, but Sasuke gave him a rough shove. "Idiot. Watch what you're doing!"

Naruto caught himself before he could topple over the edge, apparently not finding it an issue that Sasuke's lap had been an obstacle in his way. Naruto ignored him and disappeared out of the bedroom. A few minutes later he was back with pack in hand, putting his orange toothbrush inside a zippered pocket.

"They said they're gonna have everything we might need sent to the inn where we're stayin', right?" Naruto asked while rifling through his belongings. "Because that's what I heard, and so I didn't bring much else besides what I'd need for tonight."

"If you mean will we be supplied with our weapons and other equipment when we arrive in River, then yes. Do you really think we could pass as normal civilians if we're getting on the train and then they search us only to find a couple kunais in a back pocket?"

Naruto started to pull his shirt up. It got stuck somewhere around his chin so he gave it a harder tug to get it off and then dropped it carelessly on Sasuke's floor. Next, he took off his pants. As he started to shove his thumbs under the waistband of his boxers, Sasuke narrowed his eyes and scowled at his back.

"What do you think you're doing?"

Naruto turned to him slowly and grinned. "Didn't you know? I like to sleep naked."

He wasn't sure what kind of look he had on his face, but whatever it was made Naruto laugh.

"I was kidding, Sasuke. Of all the times we've shared a bed or slept in the same tent or been on whatever mission, when have I slept in the buff?"

"Never," he answered. It's not that he was bothered by nudity, he'd just be bothered to have Naruto's nudity in his bed with him. "But you do have a habit of removing articles of clothing at very random moments."

"Well," Naruto said as he crawled back into bed (from the opposite side this time). "That is true, but I'd never do that on a mission." Then, frowning, added, "Probably."

The movie's credits had finished some time ago, and the screen had gone from black to blue. It was a warm summer night, and so he'd left the sliding door open to the railinged porch outside his bedroom. The sound of the cicadas was somewhat enjoyable and calming.

"I love that sound," Naruto commented quietly, having noticed the direction in which Sasuke had been looking.

Sasuke glanced at him. Naruto had stuffed two of his pillows under his head, body spread out comfortably in a reclined position, legs crossed at the ankles and toes curling.

"Do you wanna talk about the mission?" Naruto asked. "Go over anything at all?"

"I've gone over the mission several times with Kakashi. I know what's expected of us."

Naruto cleared his throat. "That's not what I meant."

Sasuke gave him an annoyed glare. "What did you mean?"

"I meant, y'know," Naruto looked away from him. "I meant did you wanna go over our roles? Have boundaries or whatever. I've never done this before except, well, one time I went undercover with Neji to this trashy club in Sound. Y'know, those kinds of places are all over Sound now since it's been forever that they've had stable leadership-"

Sasuke made a noise in his throat.

"Oh right. That's one of those things we aren't supposed to talk about." Naruto lifted his head to fold his arms underneath. "Sorry."

"You aren't."

"You're right. I'm not."

"I sort of think Neji was into it though. Or he didn't mind." He looked at Sasuke and smiled smugly. "Do you think that means he likes me?"

"I wouldn't know," Sasuke said blandly.

"You look worried. Did I worry you?" Naruto still retained that same arrogant grin. He nudged Sasuke with his elbow. "You're no fun. I thought your sense of humor had gotten a bit better over the last couple years."

"Yes, well. I'm sorry I can't entertain you as well as Neji apparently can."

Naruto chuckled. "You're so strange sometimes."

Sasuke grumbled to himself and tugged his ear.

"I think we should discuss it," Naruto urged again, clasping his fingers together over his stomach. "Like, okay, so we pretend we like each other out in public and then in front of the target and his group, right? It's just acting. We can do that. Act like we tolerate each other?"

Sasuke sighed at that and took off his glasses. He set them on his thigh in order to massage his temples. Naruto made a swipe for them, scrutinizing them thoroughly as he held the pair just above his face. He put them on, gazing over at Sasuke expectantly.

"How do I look?" he asked. "Smarter?"

"Hardly." Sasuke snorted. "They're glasses. They can't achieve miracles."

Naruto chuckled and seemed to relax. "Ah, there it is. There's that sense of humor I've been working on developing in you."

Sasuke absorbed this thoughtfully. "I've always had a sense of humor. I just," he looked down at the man in his bed, hesitant to admit it, but he trusted Naruto of all people to understand, "Haven't always been in a position where it was necessary or appropriate."

"I know," Naruto said softly. "When we were in the academy, I always thought you were an uptight prick pain-in-the-ass. You never laughed or anything, not that I ever expected you to. But then once we were on a team together, I started to see it. When I'd do or say something stupid and you'd smirk or roll your eyes or make fun of me. I felt like you really got me."

Sasuke didn't know what to say to that. He remained silent, left to wonder about that time. It often felt as if those were memories that belonged to another him. From another lifetime, and, perhaps, that was rather accurate.

"I catch us talking a lot about the past more often," Naruto went on, scratching his side, incidentally causing his elbow to bump Sasuke's hip several times. "But I kinda like where we are now. I think we're moving forward. I know it was rough at first, but it's been two years since Kakashi-sensei became Hokage, and you were allowed to go on missions."

Even for Sasuke, that had been a very rough transition to say the least and while Naruto had stood by him through every step of the way, he hadn't been able to keep himself from lashing out at Naruto as often as he could. In fact, he still caught himself doing it when he became frustrated, but no matter what he did or said, Naruto never turned his back on him.


He felt Naruto's hand on his arm.

"Hey, you went all quiet on me. What's up?" Naruto asked.

Sasuke's gaze fell to the hand on his arm, but Naruto didn't remove it.

"It's nothing," he said.

"Hm." Naruto reluctantly let go of him and clicked his tongue. "I'm not sure why, but I just don't think I believe you. S'up, Uchiha?"

"I can't take you seriously when you're wearing those," Sasuke said, gesturing with his chin toward the glasses.

"That's funny. I thought you were supposed to take people with glasses more seriously? Maybe I should be the one to wear these so people think I'm the smart one."

"No one would ever be dumb enough to make that mistake." Sasuke looked at the TV screen, an easy smirk growing on his lips.

"Do you think we should practice kissing?" Naruto asked out of nowhere, and yet, having known Naruto so long, his bouts of randomness had lost their shock value.

Naruto nudged him in the ribs with his elbow. "I've never made out with someone who wears glasses."

"You're the one wearing them at the moment," Sasuke replied smoothly.

"Too bad," Naruto said, feigning disappointment. "And here that's what I've waited for all these years. That's why I chased you for so long, don't you know?"

Sasuke turned his head, studying Naruto under the cast of the television's blue light.

"I figured as much," he said, feeling his smirk stretch into a half-grin.

Naruto smiled in full. "I think we'll be okay. We've practically been a couple forever. One of those dysfunctional on-again off-again relationships."

"I bet those make for the best kind of sex," Sasuke replied dryly.

"Of course," Naruto said without missing a beat. "But that's just sex with me in general."

"Is that so?" Sasuke laughed softly.

Naruto responded immediately to the sound. "God I love when you laugh. I wish you did that more often."

Sasuke stopped laughing and ran a hand through his hair. "I seem to do it a fair amount when I'm with you."

"Kiss me," Naruto blurted.

Sasuke stared at him, dumbfounded but careful not to express it on his face. "What?"

"I want to try something." Naruto leaned up on his elbow and grabbed Sasuke's arm, tugging him closer. "Lean over and kiss me."

Sasuke continued to stare.

"Oh, don't give me that look! Don't ask questions. Just do it. I'm not askin' for your hand in marriage, I just wanna see if I'm right about something." Naruto gave him another persistent yank as Sasuke began to frown.


For some reason, Sasuke had it in his head that Naruto's suggestion had to do with the mission. That he was testing or challenging him at the very least, so Sasuke lowered himself in the bed so that now he was aligned with Naruto's side. Naruto's expression was serious, and it amused Sasuke as he placed his hand on the other man's chest. He could feel Naruto's heartbeat under his palm. They were looking at one another. The heartbeat sped up. Sasuke smirked and drew his hand from Naruto's chest to cup the side of his neck. There, he fingered the soft tufts of blond hair behind Naruto's ear. By the time he moved his hand to Naruto's cheek, their chests were touching, and Naruto's fingers were skimming up and down Sasuke's side. When Sasuke felt the hand slide its way to his upper back, he leaned in and brought their lips together, fingers mindlessly winding through Naruto's hair.

Naruto seemed hesitant to react at first, but then his hand went to the back of Sasuke's neck. He drew him in closer, deepening their kiss. Sasuke's hand fell from Naruto's hair, gliding down his chest before coming to a rest on his flat stomach. It quivered underneath Sasuke's hand. Naruto's mouth opened more to him, and, briefly, their tongues touched, sending an unexpected jolt through Sasuke that caused him to withdraw.

They were both panting when they parted. Naruto's cheeks were flushed, his lips swollen as he ran his fingers over them while Sasuke watched, unable to get himself to look anywhere but at Naruto's mouth.

"Well, the glasses don't seem to pose a problem," Naruto said, voice husky and low. He cleared his throat.

Sasuke pulled further away.

"What were you expecting?" he asked.

"Not that," Naruto answered. He was still rubbing his fingers across his lips. "Shit."

Sasuke felt oddly pleased by Naruto's reaction.

"I don't think I'm gonna have to try very hard to enjoy being your partner on this mission if every time we touch or kiss it ends up feeling like that."

Naruto shook his head, took in a deep breath, and appeared to relax once again, folding his arms under his head and staring at the ceiling.


"I don't think I wanna know what that means."

Sasuke hummed questioningly. He rolled onto his back. Their arms were near-touching as they lay side by side. He could easily feel the warmth of Naruto's skin as if they were touching. And for some reason, he wanted to touch. He felt as if he had to actually restrain himself from moving his arm so that he could feel Naruto's skin against his.

"You don't either, right?" Naruto rolled his head to the side.

Sasuke met his gaze without trepidation. "I don't what?" he asked, voice rough and husky.

"Don't wanna know what it means that when we kiss it feels like there may be other ways for us to get our feelings across besides punching and beating the crap out of one another."


"Maybe, uh. Later." Naruto added uncertainly. "After the mission."

"Sure." Sasuke reached for the remote, conscious of his short responses. "For now, we should get some sleep." He turned the television off, staring into the darkness, cicadas continuing to sing outside.

"I really do love that sound," Naruto whispered and shifted around on the bed. Briefly, their arms touched, but then Naruto rolled over. "Ah, here. I forgot these." Naruto's stomach fleetingly brushed against his side as he set the glasses on Sasuke's chest.

Sasuke put them on the desk. As he settled in again, he felt considerably more at ease once Naruto's arm was back in its place, touching his arm.

"Night, Sasuke," Naruto murmured tiredly, pressing his arm a little closer.

Sasuke sucked in a breath at the contact. "Goodnight…Naruto."