Title: Dearly Beloved
Chapter One: Clash of the Titans
Pairing: NaruSasuke, NejiShikamaru,
Warnings: Angst, Snark, sex, heartbreak, love, divorce, plot, making up, sex, love, slash, mentions of femmeslash, sex. Oh…and sex.
Disclaimer: No, I don't own Naruto. Goddamnit.
A/N: Naruto is Spanish and I will be using Spanish phrases in here- nothing to overwhelm you and nothing that context clues won't help you figure out. And don't tell me I can't mess with his ethnicity- I can do whatever I want, damnit.
Summary: Three years apart has not been enough to rob Uchiha Sasuke of the desire to ram something sharp and pointy through his ex-husband Uzumaki Naruto. But when fate throws the blond back into his path Sasuke begins to remember all the reasons he'd married the (insufferable) man in the first place.
Unbeta'd: Ignore the mistakes
A/N 2: Please don't think I've abandoned any of my stories. I've been having a shit few months and when that happens I tend to start more things than finish them. I wont ever abandon anything I've started though- specifically Backbreak (my baby) and Ma Cherie (cuddles). Now I'll let you all move on to the er...entertainments. lol. As for this fic...well It's chaptered and I was estimating about 5-6 10. 000 word chaps but my mind ran away from me. God knows how long this thing will be _. Damn you imagination.
It was a disaster.
The spectacular, fabulous, once in a century bash Neji had planned for eight months in advance was turning into an unmitigated failure the likes of which never before seen in Japan's High Society…and it was all because one silly, cotton headed fool hadn't enough common sense to fill a teaspoon.
"You. Did. What?" The Hyuuga prince said softly, voice so low it sent shivers of pure fear down the young secretary's spine.
"I-I'm s-so s-orry Hyuuga-San." The girl Umi-something wailed, her once artfully done eyeliner reduced to black raccoon smudges from her frightened tears. "You-you asked me to compile the list of invitees and I hadn't thought that you-"
"And I suppose," Neji drawled stepping closer menacingly, eyes lidded to half conceal his rage "That this colossal oversight was hence my fault, no?"
"No- no of course not- no-I-"
An elegant hand raised in a gesture of exasperation sealed her apologetic litany off immediately.
"The problem has been created; and now, because of your foolishness I must navigate a party where two volatile chemicals are in danger of reacting. Were you not aware of the media madhouse three years ago when those two separated?" Neji hissed voice deadly and long hair swaying as his form trembled.
"Y-yes Sir I-"
"Then what," Neji drawled "Could have possessed you to invite Japan's two bitterest divorcees to the same media riddled fundraiser?"
The dark hair woman seemed to fold in unto herself beneath the furious swathe of Neji Hyuuga's rage. Even dressed as he was in flawless grey Christian Dior the Hyuuga effortlessly pulled off the image of a murderous warrior from the samurai days. Umi-something's career flashed before her eyes in a swirling torrent of drain sliding as she rued the day that she had affixed the international stamp to the expensive cream parchment of the invitation's hand crafted envelope.
"-gladly accept your resignation." Neji smoothly cut in, grey eyes a cross between freezing arctic ice and marshland smoke; both insanely deadly. "With regret, assuredly, however I must agree with your decision that perhaps your time was better utilized pursuing avenues separate from corporate maneuvering. Please, feel free enjoy the evening; now if you will excuse me, I must attend to something."
With an elegant swirl Neji was striding through the gleaming golden lobby of the Lotus face hard and limbs stiff as he contemplated the mammoth challenge set before him. Entering the gilded cage of the completely glass elevator Neji waved the efforts of the ostentatiously dressed operator off and took vicious pleasure in savagely jabbing the button to take him to the Olympian Level.
There was no feasible reason why Konoha's finest hotel needed 19 stories of skyscraper constructed of glass, metal and silver hovering far above the normal headline but for this reason- the glittering societal functions of the rich and disgustingly famous.
The annual fundraiser and auction was- apart from ostensibly raising money for charitable public works spanning the board from orphanages to war veterans aid- the single event per year guaranteed to have the biggest, baddest and bitchiest of all Asia's elite gathered under one (too small) roof, eager to prove to each other how deep their pockets were and exactly what size diamond their significant-others of the moment could buy them.
The hosting of the even rotated amongst the oldest families in the city and this year, the Hyuuga's year, Neji had taken it upon himself to plan the most spectacular evening ever conceived in human memory- the banquet show was fucking Cirque-du-Solei for god sake and that wasn't counting the ice sculptures littering the room like diamonds, nor the Honshu National Orchestra playing something-in-D-minor on the raised gleaming mahogany platform at one end of the mammoth room. Even stuck in the elevator as he was Neji could easily picture the room to the barest detail so minutely had he organized, so obsessively had he planned, so painstakingly had he gone over every inch of that room.
Unfortunately, Neji now knew all his efforts were shot to hell as the guests were as likely to notice the cut rose crystal mythical animal shaped party favours (crafted by the premier glassworks facility this half of the Greenwich Meridian) as they would notice a sudden and fierce apocalypse since they were all stuffing their gossip gullets with the sight of the greatest scandal since France declared itself a republic.
The elevator dinged and Neji strode out of the small room with a determined stride, the headache growing behind his eyes mutating upon itself with each step. The grand doors to the ballroom were flung wide and Neji paused at the smooth threshold to breathe deeply and force his sensitive eyes to not be blinded by the unbelievable amount of reflective surfaces.
He saw the exited eyes, he heard the snippets of the too hushed but not tactful enough conversations, saw the almost frenzied way the debutants chattered among themselves and heard the deep snide remarks of the men clad in Armani-this and Hugo Boss-that.
And then Neji's eyes followed the ravenous glances and alighted on the backbreakingly rigid posture of one Sasuke Uchiha who was seconds away from shattering the champagne flute in his hand into so much crystal shards and a trip to the emergency room. A loud laugh hauled Neji's-and everyone else's for that matter's- attention to the other side of the room where the one man bold enough to wear a leather jacket to a black tie function stood, body angled towards the dark haired Uchiha but eyes trained dedicatedly on his chatting companions. Uzumaki Naruto always had known how to steal the show.
Neji sighed and forced himself not to pass a hand over his eyes in a visible show of discomfort.
'Ladies and gentlemen...' Neji murmured to himself as he made his way into the teeming- gracefully of course- mass of wealth and intelligentsia as he forced his body to call upon its energy reserves. '…I present to you… a tap dance.'
Smooth and expertly minted as this champagne was the classy liquid was so much sludge in his mouth and Uchiha Sasuke almost desperately wanted something cheap and harsh enough to burn his stomach clean from his body.
Another deep, melodious laugh had Sasuke throwing back every drop of the French-something before unceremoniously snatching another flute from a passing waiter and downing that too.
It didn't help and Sasuke scowled, dark fantasies of the vodka-near-moonshine in his liquor cabinet at home dancing in front of his eyes.
He knew that it wasn't on for him to be openly bothered this way since every eye in the room was both trained on him and desperate for every sign of weakness to be exploited. He knew the fierce anger radiating from his very skin was doing nothing but drawing glee from his detractors just as he knew, fucking knew, that tomorrows headlines, instead of "Elite Donate xxx-obscene millions to charity" would read "Torrid Reunion- Scandal at the Lotus".
'The lead' Sasuke though viciously, 'will be something like 'embittered ex- lovers Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke faced off in a reunion three years in coming after their earth shattering divorce. Knives were mercilessly wielded.'
What the fuck was that blasted Hyuuga thinking anyway? Didn't he know what social suicide it was to invite both bitter parties of an ex-marriage to the same fucking soiree? Had Neji finally lost what sens-
"Sasuke, pull yourself together." A liquid nitrogen voice hissed through clenched teeth and a congenial smile.
Sasuke blinked and watched as Neji, resplendent in dove grey silk pinstripes and lavender shirt and tie, gracefully plucked a golden flute from another waiter- all who looked deliberately stolen from the front pages of GQ- while his soft smile (brittle around the edges but not really visible if you didn't look to hard) never wavered.
"You." Sasuke replied, lips thin. "I should-"
"Me." Neji interrupted before Sasuke could voice his undoubtedly creative threat of elimination.
"I did not plan this Uchiha- believe me." Neji continued, lowly, body angling in a completely relaxed manner that conflicted with his hard eyes. "A foul up in my hierarchy- never would I have insulted either of you this way. My sources had informed me that he was in Ibiza for the month."
Sasuke laughed harshly and waved his empty glass in a sharp gesture very much reminiscent of stabbing someone in the chest.
"Foolish. Like St. Uzumaki ever misses a chance to give to the poor orphans and war veterans and homeless widows and…and…what animal was it again?"
Neji's lips twitched. "The endangered Sicilian Spider Monkey."
"Yes," Sasuke agreed, snatching another glass of golden something and downing that too. "Them." He grimaced, "The bloody baboons."
"Sasuke- please you must at least appear to enjoy yourself."
The Uchiha blinked before smirking nastily, the short crop of his obsidian hair still strange to the Hyuuga who had grown up with the Sasuke sporting shoulder length bangs.
"Why, can't you tell Neji- I'm having the time of my life."
"Haha, I can tell." A deep voice cut in.
Both men half spun to greet the newest addition to the conversation. Dressed dashingly in black tailored pantsuit complete with emerald green waistcoat, tails and matching bowtie Temari Sabaku stood, her firm jaw squared off into wicked grin and her piercing blue-green eyes alight with blunt mischief.
"Sabaku." Neji greeted smoothly, "My dear sir, to what do we owe the pleasure?"
"You don't." The one third heir of Suna Sand Works said, smirk growing wider at the innocent jab to her utter and complete deficit of femininity. "But I'm thoroughly amused. Never let it be said that a Hyuuga couldn't throw a party. I'm all aflutter with the…er…"Temari glanced rather pointedly towards Naruto and back to Sasuke. "…entertainments."
Neji's lips thinned.
"I assure you-"
The blond woman waved it off with one nonchalant hand. "I understand, irritating peons and whatnot. Sasuke- you're looking dashing this evening."
"As are you- I believe my grandfather was buried in a similar outfit."
Temari threw back her head and laughed that particular deep masculine laugh of hers that always discomfited ever man in a fifteen foot radius of her.
"Charming." She snorted before her eyes lit up again and she waved to someone behind Sasuke's shoulder.
The Uchiha blinked a bit to clear his vision- well would you look at that seems this champagne had more use to it than he'd thought-and focused just in time to see a mess of strawberry blond frou frou something with longer legs than feasibly possible attach itself to the sharp eyed businesswoman's arm.
"-rrible business Temi-poo." The mass of glittering extensions was saying, all wide eyed and oblivious. "They- the Higurashi ladies of course- are saying there is a great to do and flurry; apparently some estranged lovers have been forced to-"
Neji cleared his throat.
The mound of inch long lashes and cleavage paused, her wide –oddly pretty green eyes- focusing on the two men standing with her significant other.
An awkward pause.
"Oh my." She demurred prettily with a gasp turning to the frowning Sasuke, "You're probably one of his best friends aren't you?"
Incredulous Sasuke just slowly turned his frigid stare back to Temari.
The woman's lips worked. "Karin, sweetheart, how about you fetch me some of that hideously fattening thing on the buffet table."
The mound tittered. "Of course Temi-poo." And flitted off, never mind that the entire buffet table was smothered in hideously fattening things and her order had in no way been specific.
"What?" The fierce boardroom woman said unapologetically, "She's nineteen and straight off the Osaka runway. I'm not particularly miffed about the lack of a rocket science degree."
"Still," Sasuke grunted his hands staring annoyed into the empty bottom of his glass, "There were standards once…decorum…common sense…literacy…"
Temari laughed again. "Don't throw stones when it comes to political correctness, Uchiha. Why I seem to remember a Christmas bash few years ago when the entire drawing room heard you screaming for-"
"-more Tiramisu, yes." A low dangerous voice interspersed. The trio shifted to accommodate the homicidal looking five foot redhead now staring dispassionately at his elder sibling.
"You wouldn't happen to have been going to say something crass, would you sister mine?" Gaara asked in that low, sinister half whisper of his that-when he (rarely) chose to utilize it- normally terrified his employees into tachycardia.
Sasuke watched through lowered eyed as Temari fluttered her eyelashes at Gaara in a move utterly unsuited to her masculine form. "Of course not little brother- what do you take me for? Some kind of foul mouthed dyke?"
"Yes." the redhead clad in pitch black everything returned plainly.
"You forgot the part about being 'raised by wolves'." Sasuke sneered lightly managing, despite Neji's subtle movements, to deposit his spent glasses and fetch himself another one.
Gaara turned those jade edged green eyes upon him and Sasuke felt himself shift uncomfortably underneath the stare. "Uchiha- you-"
"-are fine- jesus, I will not fall apart into a blithering pile of mush at the sight of my ex-husba-"
-and then things happened fast.
A drunken debutant six feet away staggered and slammed into a towering ice sculpture of an elegant mermaid and was caught by a passing waiter who had sacrificed his tray of Bubbly-French-Something to play hero. The resulting spill had four others careening about, the flailing bejeweled arm of one which slammed into Sasuke's opposite shoulder and sent him spinning, the arc of champagne in his glass creating a delicate- and frankly pretty looking- curve as it soared through the air and splashed-
-right unto the shoulder of one approaching Uzumaki Naruto.
The very air in the room went still as death as a tan hand slowly reached up and trailed fingertips through his new wet additions.
For a brief moment Sasuke observed the way the champagne made Naruto's sun-heart hair shine.
"O-oh. Oh my." The drunk woman- some heiress to a medical conglomerate stated in the silence, mouth working furiously in shock. "U-uzumaki san my apologies, I- I'm a -ha-"
"Having an amazing time, yes." Naruto grinned humbly, the brilliant flash of white teeth and forgiving crinkle to the corners of cerulean eyes utterly absolving the woman of fault.
"Don't worry Shizune-san, my jacket only gained a bit more class this evening than I'd hoped. Besides…" he continues, mesmerizing blue eyes slowly turning from the wobbly woman to flit and land on Sasuke's form. The Uzumaki's lips twitched wryly.
"…I'm a bit more used to having things thrown at me that you might think."
A nervous titter, high and weird, rang out from somewhere but was hastily strangled when the laugher realized that no one else was catching on.
As soon as the blasé reference to Sasuke's habit of tossing large and very pointy objects towards him during the later days of their marriage petered out amongst the crowd Sasuke wondered if he could get away with lobbing his flute at Naruto's head as well and calling it a delayed reaction.
Life and conversation twitched jerkily back into the room as Naruto accepted brush downs by servers bearing thousand count Egyptian Cotton hand cloths.
"Fellas please. Its champagne, not battery acid- I won't spontaneously combust."
'I beg to differ.' Sasuke thought viciously as his mind spawned no less than six rather creative ways to get 'X'-candle from that nearby buffet table unto 'Y'-target currently doused in flammable alcohol.
"Uzumaki-san," Neji greeted coolly, the tick in his left eyebrow going mercifully uncommented on as Neji faced his leather clad gatecrasher. "Greetings. You'll forgive me but I had heard you were visiting home this month."
The six foot four Spaniard's mouth twitched as he took the polite inquiry for the 'what the blazing fuck are you doing here,' that it really was.
"My Personal Assistant Sakura received this invite in the mail while I was off Island. Terribly urgent she said it was- booked me a ticket back to Honshu faster than I'd have though feasibly possible."
Sasuke's teeth ground together so hard he was surprised they didn't fall to dust upon his tongue. God damn that pink haired bitch- he'd never liked Naruto's Secretary anyways- what with her perfect know-it-all-isms and flawless job handling and husband manipulation.
The youngest Uchiha was doing his utter best to gather the torn remnants of his pride and wrap them-bandage like- around his frame like a mask. It wouldn't do to let the gossip mongers and cleverly hidden paparazzi get even bigger money shots of him than they already had.
It wouldn't do to let the world see-via the page two spread on the Konoha Evening Edition- just how ragged and slit this man before him had left him on that brilliant sunny day three years ago when he'd walked out of the courtroom, stone-faced while a judge finalized their separation.
It wouldn't do for anyone, especially the blond, to see the pain and anger that Sasuke knew were buried in his eyes were still so raw and rusting after so long.
It was for less than half a second but for the minuscule time frame when Naruto flittered those piercing blue eyes over him Sasuke was transported into an ether somewhere between five years ago moaning and insatiable on his honeymoon and 39 months ago screaming at a wall in desperation.
"-cognac, please." Gaara's deep voice was saying in reply to a question the blond had asked about refilling everyone's drinks.
"Jack Daniels," Temari grinned as she placed her order, "on the rocks."
"Neji?" Naruto- the apparent drink getter-queried.
"Another champagne, please."
And finally Naruto turned to him and Sasuke's soul caught half way in his throat as something minute but horribly painful sliced itself open in his chest.
"And for you…Sasuke?" Neji asked, removing the choice from Naruto in an act of mercy.
Sasuke swallowed, ears ringing and all too aware of the silence around them as everyone listened to the first words he would utter to the blond business mogul since their divorce.
"Dr-" but he wasn't given the chance.
"Dry vodka martini…stirred, one olive, extra gin." Naruto murmured lowly, eyes cast to the left. Slowly those heavenly orbs turned to stare Sasuke full in the face and the raven haired male found himself grieved and seriously pissed off about Naruto's –correct fucking god damnit- presumption as he named Sasuke's drink of choice. "..I remember."
Sasuke felt red anger flare to life beneath his skin but some merciful act of god kept it wrapped and belted tightly down from staining his pale face rouge.
Coldly Sasuke replied, "A Whisky actually. Aged, double fingered…neat."
Sasuke fucking despised whiskey but he despised Naruto being right and familiar and so fucking present even more. He'd drink raw oil before he let the blond have the satisfaction of proving- whatever the fuck it was that he was trying to prove.
The gazes in the group- two impassive (one more worried than the other) and one just dancing wickedly in amusement switched to Naruto's face like lightning, desperate to see his reaction to the rebuke.
The blond's full lips pursed and his eyelids lowered a bit but insufficiently to cover the darkly amused shimmer.
"Of course." The blond replied with a mocking little bow of his head, acknowledging Sasuke's rebuff. "How…surprising."
And what the fuck was that supposed to mean?
Sasuke's mind tripped into an overdrive that he might have recognized as paranoid had he been thinking straight and not halfway soused on bubbly. Darkly eyeing the blonds back as he left to the bar questions railed through Sasuke's mind like wild water.
Was Naruto trying to imply that Sasuke hadn't changed?
What, did he want the whole world to think that he, Uzumaki Naruto, knew Sasuke so well that he could pass judgments like that?
What was the man's angle? He couldn't just walk up in here after three fucking years gone gallivanting to the ends of the earth and tell Sasuke that he couldn't have his whisky. By god, the Uchiha was going to-
"So how about this weather we're having?" A sly voice edged in.
Sasuke felt like stabbing himself in the face. It figured that the only time Kakashi Hatake would show up from his self-imposed exile in the boonies was to witness his abject humiliation.
The silver haired man was slumped over in his customary slouch, disguising his six foot six for less than it really was. Well known for despising social conventions the eccentric genius was clad in a slightly rumpled black tux with his customary enormous cream Chanel scarf shielding half his face. When Sasuke had been younger the mystery behind his tutor's face had spawned a ridiculous crush which the man had teased him mercilessly for. Their love hate relationship was mostly hate- well, that and annoyance. Both men, despite their seven year age differences were far too alike to ever gel.
"Kakashi-san." Neji greeted. "It's good to see you. How are the mountains this time of year?"
"Raining cats, dogs and ex-lovers." The man replied his eyes curled into U's.
Sasuke's teeth ground together. "When do you plan to retu-"
"Kakashi!" Naruto called out as he rejoined the group bearing a tray of liquids. "What brings you down from Hokage Head Mountain?"
A single blue eye cracked open. "Fulfilling my duty to humanity and the young orphans and the- what was it- the Brazilian Bonobo or something?"
"Sicilian Spider Monkey." Neji corrected mildly.
"Yeah, that." The man sidled to the left and swung a companionable arm around the Uchiha's tense shoulders. "And to see my favourite student of course! How could I let this amazing opportunity for a reunion with Susu-chan pass me by?"
"I think," Temari smirked into her Jack, "That if you call Master Uchiha that one more time you might forcibly meet your spleen Kakashi-sama. He's not in the er…best of moods today."
'Fuck me god I'm surrounded by pundits.' Sasuke grimaced as he swallowed a mouthful of whiskey.
"Nah." The blond man drawled, his cobalt eyes shimmering with a forthcoming tease. "Sasuke is used to name calling. He's an expert in creating them even. Fondly do I remember 'usuratonkachi'. Nothing warmed my heart more than being labeled 'bumbling moron'."
The opportunity was ripe and Sasuke couldn't resist. "I'm glad then." He smiled sweetly. "I always had thought that one to be a stroke of genius."
Naruto titled his glass of wine in a salute, his smile dry. "How's Itachi?" He queried.
"Marinating in a villa somewhere in Bali with his surfer lover he thinks we don't know anything about." Sasuke replied instantly, eyed hard. "How's your wife?"
Naruto sighed, the sound one of someone tired and exasperated with repeatedly defending himself. "Sakura is not my wife."
The place was dead silent and nobody even pretended to not be hideously fascinated with the building altercation. It was amazing, Sasuke thought, how being in Naruto's presence raised every hackle he had and fried all his nerves to shit.
"My mistake." Sasuke ground out, his lips tight in an overly polite smile. "I was under the impression that any woman with the power to call a man out of bed at three twelve am was either his mother of his ball and chain."
"Funny you should call it that." The Spaniard replied, mirth still in his face but rapidly decreasing. "Likening marriage to a dungeon and shac-"
"Boys, boys." Kakashi interrupted, raising his hands palm up in a placating gesture. "Play nice, please."
Sasuke's body was suddenly vibrating with anger. The bastard. The utter bastard. Just because the Uchiha preferred to remain home and had often voiced his displeasure at Naruto's adventurous gallivanting did not mean that he had tried to imprison him. Was it that much of a crime to want stability for once in his life? Not every fucking body was a mountain climbing, deep sea diving, Loch Ness monster hunting –
"Yes," Sasuke agreed sagely and fiercely angry. Nonchalantly swirling his whisky Sasuke turned to casually survey the room. "God forbid a man wake up to find his husband in the same h-"
"-honourable condition he went to bed in." Neji smoothed in.
Knuckles white with anger Sasuke turned his eyes on Neji and glared. His best friend from birth bore it admirably. Unable to deal with the slicing rips appearing phantomlike in an organ Sasuke had thought dried and withered the Uchiha swallowed his pride and deemed it better to run away. There was only so much humiliation he could bear in one evening. Like being drawn to a magnetic force Sasuke found his eyes unwillingly locked unto hooded and shadowed cerulean orbs.
"If you'll excuse me Neji," Sasuke said, voice coarse, "I've suddenly remember something I must be doing." The Uchiha refused to both look away from Naruto's amused eyes and add the phrase 'I'd rather be pulling my teeth out' to Neji.
Holding out an elegant hand Sasuke deferred his glass to the pale Hyuuga and tugged down the hem of his jacket before nodding a polite acknowledgement to the two sand siblings and his former Martial Arts teacher standing beside them. He spun around and-
"Off to see a man about a horse then…eh?" Naruto's purr flowed out, tone mocking and lightly entertained.
Eyes wide and brimming with anger the youngest mogul of Sharingan Advertising spun around and fixed his ex-husband, owner of all nine branches of Jinchuriki Entertainments with one level stare that could have peeled paint from the walls if it so desired. Sasuke's lips went bloodless as he remembered all the pain and anguish this man, standing so casually before him, had wreaked upon him. Sasuke was barely on speaking terms with his own father because of this man- and he had the audacity- the sheer balls to fucking stand there and-
"Something like that, yes." The twenty six year old replied and then, without a word spun on his heel and stalked out.
Through the whole ride downwards the spine of the hotel Sasuke told himself that the reason there was a lump in his throat blocking all his attempts to swallow was because the whisky had made his tongue numb.