Author's Note: This is what happens when you force me to watch soccer for eight hours straight... (those guys have nice legs...)

Left Field

by Bullwinkle's Lady

"It looks like Lee's gained possession of the ball – now Inuzuka – and back to Lee! Would you look at that speed! Lee is headed for the goal, aannd – he slipped!"

"Clumsy oaf," Sasuke growled as the announcer continued to blather about Lee's spectacular collapse. The Uchiha tugged up his leg guards.

"It's not his fault. Neji keeps knocking him down!" said Naruto, who stood a few yards away from him.

Sasuke paced before Suna's goal. He and Naruto were the sole attackers on Konoha's major league soccer team, but a third had never been necessary. They could read each other's moves better than they could follow the game.

"We're twenty minutes in, and I haven't touched the ball yet," said Sasuke.

"I think my ankle brushed it during the kick-off," Naruto returned. They tended to fall into banter when Sasuke was especially bored.

Naruto suddenly darted to the left, foolishly thinking Chouji might get the ball to him, but instead it was stolen by Sabaku no Gaara, who everyone suspected was a robot.

"Look at Sabaku's tattoo. How drunk was he when he got that?" said Naruto. He glanced back at Sasuke, to see a vague amusement on his lips. "And Neji's hair – is he trying to coerce us to grab it?" Naruto continued.

"I already have a yellow card."

"And you have yet to touch the ball." Naruto snickered.

He ignored as Suna's defenders glared at them trolling the goal and trash-talking their teammates. The two were loosening up despite their audience, and Naruto wanted to test how off-guard he could get Sasuke to become.

As Sasuke revisited the topic of Shino's motorcycle shades, Naruto's snickers somehow carried as far as midfield. A few Suna players glanced back at them, distracted from the game, at which point Lee took the opportunity to pass them the ball.

"Gotachya," said Naruto, receiving it. He was instantly surrounded by Suna's abundance of defenders. Unfazed by their dominance, Naruto feigned to the left, then feigned to the right (at which point Kankuro collapsed from sheer confusion), before kicking the ball to Sasuke.

"Moron," said the Uchiha, passing it back. He moved toward the goal, keeping himself open.

And just before Naruto could return the soccer ball, someone swooped in to steal it. Naruto expertly protected it, rather than his fragile skull, which was suddenly struck hard with ultra-robotic power.

When he came to, he was lying on the grass surrounded by medics and teammates. Sasuke was holding the ball and looking sadistic.

"What happened?" said Naruto, feeling groggy.

"Gaara elbowed you in the back of the head."

"Of course."

"It looks like Uzumaki's waking up. Lucky for them, he's the best player they've got."

Naruto smiled at this, but Sasuke narrowed his eyes, seeming to disagree with the announcer's remark.

"Are you good to play?" said Kakashi. Their coach was wearing a dust mask that day, what with his pollen allergies.

"Of course!" said Naruto, springing to his feet. Suffering a wave of dizziness, he fell back down.

"Coach, he was just knocked out," said Sasuke, looking disturbed with the concept. Naruto blinked, and Sasuke hastily continued, "I doubt he can keep up in this condition."

"The boy says he can play..."

Naruto gave them a thumbs-up despite his recumbent position. In the midst of blurry people and swimming objects, a pale hand was offered to him. Grinning, Naruto took it, and was pulled to his feet-

Only to come face to face with Gaara.

Naruto dropped the aforementioned hand.

His face apathetic, as it always seemed to be, Gaara offered a curt nod and stalked off to midfield.

"Are you okay?" Sasuke deadpanned.

Naruto glanced at the brunette who was glaring at Gaara's retreating back.

"His hand felt cool – like metal."

Sasuke blinked. "What-?"

"Did he get a yellow card?" said Naruto, smiling. Lee kicked off and the game resumed.

"No," said Sasuke.

"Why not?"

"No reason."

The ball flew their way again, but this time Sasuke got it-

"Oof!" said Naruto.

-even if he had to trip the blonde to do so.

"Teme!" called Naruto, spitting blades of grass.

Sasuke didn't hear. Moving in the direction of Konoha's goal, he ignored his gaping teammates and their frantic waves for him to pass. Lee even had the audacity to try to steal the ball from him, but ended up tripping on his legwarmers again. Circling back toward Suna's goal, Sasuke navigated through the defenders.

"Ball-hog!" Naruto complained, still open and fruitlessly flopping for attention.

"You're concussed," Sasuke called back.

"Teme, I'm open!"

In his distraction, Sasuke and Gaara clashed, as Naruto knew they would. When Sasuke's cleats connected with Gaara's sack so quickly it was practically accidental, and the goal, incidental-

The crowd exploded in cheers, as they always did. Gaara collapsed to the ground like a discarded puppet. He was human after all.

"Uchiha doesn't have Uzumaki's power, but he's definitely the better strategist – and quite the crowd pleaser..."

Sasuke smirked as colleagues and supporters surrounded him, as the crowd chanted his name, and as teenage girls thrust their bras onto the field. He smirked even as the first of his teammates pounced on him, as tradition mandated-

He just hadn't been expected to be caught in a kiss.

Sasuke eyes opened wide, and Naruto pulled back, belatedly catching himself from the chaos and excitement. The surrounding players fell silent, as did most of the crowd. Even the announcer seemed at a loss.

"Uzumaki and Uchiha – well – that was some goal..."

As the game resumed, Sasuke and Naruto disappeared in the mass of uniforms. They didn't speak again throughout.


Sasuke glared at his steering wheel. Back in his black jeans and peacoat, he sat in his Mercedes-Benz, hoping to hide his ambivalence behind his tinted windows. The remainder of the game had been spent compensating for Naruto's discomposure, and no one had had the nerve to question it.

They won, regardless.

"Why do I have to sit in the back?"

"Because you outed us in front of thousands of people."

"They don't know what they saw!" Naruto insisted.

"The twelve-angle high definition cameras do."

"It was an accident!" Naruto cried dramatically.

Twitching, Sasuke started the car and pulled out of the lot. He glanced at the pouting blonde in the rearview mirror. His cheeks were still red where Neji had tried to claw his eyes out during the second half. "How do you feel?" Sasuke asked, reluctantly.

Naruto blinked at the inquiry. "Fine...drowsy."

"Let's go to the hospital."

"Are you taking me in, or just rolling me onto the sidewalk?"

The corner of Sasuke's mouth twitched. He said nothing as Naruto climbed into the passengers seat, wearing his jeans and jacket, a small crystal hanging from his neck.

Naruto rested the side of his head against his seat, allowing his eyelids to droop. "I like being outed."

Sasuke stiffened, but relaxed. "Don't fall asleep," he sighed.

"I'm just a little...tired."

Clenching his jaw, Sasuke pulled the car over. He unbuckled his seatbelt to lean over and buckle Naruto's. He then opened the window, and the blonde's leather jacket, grabbing his orange collar and jerking him up. "How do I keep you awake?"

Naruto smiled. "Heh."

Sasuke kissed him, regardless of the persistence of the paparazzi, and the very pressing risk that someone could see. So maybe he liked it too.

End