So, this is just a little dribble drabble of a story Izaya and I threw together over Skype and with a little editing and a bim, bam, boom!, there you have it! Human!SasukexFoxGod!Naruto. Fanciful and wishy-washy but we like living in a world of wispiness and lily pads and ANGST. *rage hands*


Through and Through

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He distinctly remembered being told off. Jiraiya had once said to him, "You shouldn't meet that human anymore. One of you will end up hurt." At the time, Naruto hadn't believed him. As he lazed atop the water's surface, face propped up, all elbows and swinging feet, toes dipping in and out of the lake, he'd smiled widely at the tiny toad spirit sitting atop his lily pad.

"That'll never happen because Sasuke likes me and I like him," he'd said, giggling stupidly and showing off his shiny white teeth as the equally white haired man had eyed him, unbelieving and taken another long puff of his pipe. He cocked an eyebrow back at the young god.

"You're too different."

"We're perfect."

"It'll end in tears, Naruto."

Jiraiya was wise and had lived much longer than Naruto had, at least by 100 years. His snowy hair and defined lines around his mouth and at the corners of his eyes were proof. Naruto was nothing but a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed youngster. He wasn't even in his prime yet. And although nowadays he was known to be strong and respected, Jiraiya still called him 'the crybaby fox god.' He could have blamed it on his youth, he could have said it was only expected to be this foolish, but somewhere deep in the recesses of his soul, he had known.

But he ignored it at the time simply because he could.

Because when he and Sasuke were together, it always seemed to conveniently slip his mind that this could never be a happy ending.

Because Sasuke had been so beautiful. The raven man was always saying that Naruto had ensnared him from their very first meeting, but the fox god disagreed fervently and they'd argued back and forth through their time together. No, Naruto- he- had been the one enchanted. After all, Naruto had always looked the same for so long, there was nothing fresh or spectacular about him at all. But Sasuke- Sasuke with his hair curled around flushed cheeks and his kimono sleeves tattered and torn as he came crawling through the undergrowth-

Naruto had been so surprised by the sudden jump of his heartbeat that he hadn't been able to move at all. He could feel his eyes stinging with how wide they'd stretched, baby blues narrowed and focused on the one who could touch him. The human's fingertips were very warm and heavy at his ankle. The space between the places they touched felt like it was superheated and the long, pale hand squeezed tightly around Naruto's lithe ankle.

And Sasuke's startled expression, with his flushed out cheeks and still adolescent eyes, was so lovely. That pink stain in his skin spreading down a long neck and his widened dark eyes. So deep and glossy. Even with his hair all astray and twigs poking from the side where the drawstrings came together to tie his yukata, Naruto had never seen such a beautiful human. Usually they looked so heavy and their scents were so strong that it bothered Naruto's nose terribly. He had long ago tried to sneak into the human marketplace to explore the hustle and bustle of city life but the one thing that stood out was the way the stench had driven him back and away to the safety of the forest and the river and his trees. But Sasuke's smell was gentle to his nose and with the petal white of his skin and the way his hair, all stuck up in the back, floated in the slight breeze; he looked feather light.

Naruto hadn't identified it at the time, but as the young teen had quickly jerked his hand back and lowered his eyes in a near shy fashion withdrawing with a quiet burble of "I'm looking for a ball…", Naruto had fallen in what humans called 'love'. The pulsing air around the other was bathed in the colors of the lilies in Naruto's favorite stream, and his nervous but pretending-not-to-be-startled body language, and the movement of his lips coming to a close, and his voice, and his smell; something about him. He was everything. This boy, crawling through the bramble, was everything. A million little, exquisite things all tied together in a complex web had done something to Naruto inside that one moment. It had ensnared him. But Naruto hadn't spoken and had let the human leave without a word. Sasuke gently backed into the bushes the way he'd came and disappeared.

And that was the beginning.

To Naruto's elation, Sasuke had come back to the clearing next to the lake the next day and the day after that and even the day after that. A whole week. Naruto had watched him from where he stood with feet poised atop the glossy water, out of sight, too far away from prying human eyes and half-disguised with lilies and reeds. Then, he'd followed him to where the vegetation thinned and gave way to the backyard of a large house, all sleek planks and well-woken seams. A young girl with pink hair lived there as well as a man who wore a mask that covered his nose and mouth. Naruto overheard they were something of a 'family' to Sasuke.

After a week of hiding, Naruto waited for Sasuke in their clearing, showing himself again for the first time. It was quiet out save for the soft lapping of water along the muddy edge of the lake and the soft hum of faraway dragonflies. The young man had come carefully through the bushes, now a familiarly trekked path, and stopped in his tracks at the sight of Naruto standing waiting for him, one foot poised almost daintily above the soft dirt. The fluffy-eared fox god carefully set his parasol aside and smoothed his kimono nervously. He'd been wearing something rather impressive the first time they had met, he remembered the way it had pooled as he'd sat down on the grass; but today he wore more the simple attire of an orange kimono with black tinged sleeves. Sasuke was wearing a navy kimono with hakama. Naruto was inwardly tinged jealous that he still appeared regal. With them both standing now face to face at about arms length apart, the human boy was slightly taller.

Naruto didn't know what he was doing. Just the fact that Sasuke seemed to be able to see him rather clearly was enough to make him anxious and his left ear twitched nervously. If people saw him at all he was usually a watery flash of nothing that humans rubbed their eyes at- by then he was gone and simply a figment of the imagination to their modern minds. But Sasuke was staring straight into his own eyes, saw him solid and real. And Naruto was standing and exposing himself so willingly.

Isn't he scared?

Does he not see the ears? The tail? These whiskered cheeks?

Though Sasuke also looked as if he didn't know what he was doing, there was something between them and Naruto could feel it and he was pretty damn sure that Sasuke could feel it too. Although he hadn't realized how strong that something was until Sasuke lowered his foot before taking another step forward and raised a hand, palm facing the fox. Almost subconsciously, Naruto had followed suit and their fingertips, uninhibited, had touched.

They'd both jumped and drawn back a little before bravely coming closer and letting their palms press flush together, eyes huge and pulse thumping as their fingers slid sideways slowly and were just able to fall into the spaces. Intertwined. For both of them, there was something surreal about the touch. Something from outside their own worlds. Something close to an ache built deep inside Naruto's chest. An intertwining of what it meant to be human and god as simply as it was to intertwine pale and tan.

"Do youkai have names?" Sasuke suddenly asked softly and the blonde fox yanked his hand back but didn't let go of Sasuke's, exclaiming as if on cue, "I'm a god! Not a youkai!" in his slightly angry, slightly startled voice. Sasuke had snickered as he stumbled forward with Naruto's forceful movement and replied while smirking slightly, looking the better half of drunk off his newly found acquaintance.

"Well, do gods have names then, Kami-sama?" Naruto felt his ears twitch, a little flustered at the respectful address when he clearly expected none.

"It's Naruto. But just Naruto, I don't really like those heavy honorifics…"

"Sasuke."

"Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, too."

They exchanged formalities while still holding hands.

Ever since then they had always been together. Sasuke was seventeen. Naruto didn't know how old he was, since gods and other so-named 'mystical creatures' didn't like to and had no way of keeping precise time as it lasted so long and everything mushed together into a whole bunch of gobbledygook. Most days Sasuke went to 'school' or entertained the young lady of the house with balls and other toys. Naruto kept watch over the mountain and the lake as he was required to do per natural law. He appeared friendly yet reserved to the spirits of the area, paying his dues to the old trees and spirits housed within the deeper vines, but as soon as his sensitive ears heard the sound of footsteps on Sasuke's well-tread path, he instantly regressed into the young, enthusiastic fox he still was. In order to keep a proper handle on what happened on the mountain, Naruto had to come across as an authority figure with a stern reputation and heavy hand in territorial matters, but with Sasuke he was himself. At times, they sat by the lake and skimmed stones, talking of their days, explaining things the other didn't understand. Sasuke, being a human, often dozed in the sun, his head resting in Naruto's lap and Naruto delighted in running his long nails through the dark waves even if he was left alone to his own thoughts while Sasuke slumbered.

Human's needed so much sleep. And needed to eat so much. Naruto tried to bring Sasuke snacks but the man preferred his own. He once cooked 'ramen' over a fire and Naruto, since eating it, refused to eat anything else when they were together. He learnt a lot about humans from Sasuke. Not that he cared much for other humans. You could say he learnt a lot about Sasuke from Sasuke, or something. And Sasuke learnt about him too. One day, Naruto simply picked Sasuke up and carried him into the middle of the lake and then slowly lowered him to his feet. He held his hand, pushing his energy- only a very small amount as not to hurt Sasuke's fragile mortal body- into the other and they'd stood together on top of the water. Despite being able to stand on his own without the aid of Naruto's natural energy, after a while Sasuke came back to Naruto from his meandering and held him with arms wrapped firmly around his waist. He pulled him close as they breathed the same air. Naruto had looked about them and asked what Sasuke was doing and Sasuke had chuckled and ordered him, "Look this way, idiot, at me. I want to show you something nice."

And then he'd pressed his mouth to Naruto's in a 'kiss.' Sasuke had his eyes closed so Naruto closed his too. It was warm and something in the blonde's chest had fluttered. Gods didn't do this sort of thing. His mother and father had been fox spirits too and he'd never seen them do this. It must be a human thing that he didn't know about, but the way Sasuke was holding him, the rush of happiness through his body, Naruto knew it was something special. He felt privy to this new information about humans and had licked Sasuke's cheek afterwards, telling him, "this is what we do." A pause. "But I like your way better."

After that came more. They did long kisses where Sasuke pushed his tongue into Naruto's mouth, roving around in a marking of his territory before he slipped his hands inside Naruto's kimono, trailing one finger along the inside of the material and touched him all over. And Naruto touched Sasuke too, not wanting to be the only one pampered with soft fingers and warm lips.

The human seemed hesitant at first to do such intimate things in their clearing so close to his home but Naruto didn't mind. Wherever was fine as long as the touches lasted. They went on walks and found all sorts of places to sleep and kiss and curl up together and watch the cloud pass the world by; to get hot and disheveled. In the summer, Sasuke bought him a hat to keep the sun from burning the tips of his fluffy ears that Naruto held to the light and marveled at the sunbeams sneaking through the woven straw. It was sturdy but beautiful on him, blending nicely with the warm colors of his clothing. In the winter Sasuke mended Naruto's kimonos where they had torn over the years and sewed extra layers into them. He even modified them to fit around in the back where his tail shown through without letting cold wind inside the insulated cloth. Naruto let Sasuke hide his feet in the warmth of his thick tail.

One evening deep in the heart of winter, the two were caught in a snow storm. Much to his chagrin, Sasuke had been pathetically blinded by the onslaught of violent weather and was barely able to walk. Naruto with his strong legs and keen eyes, surveying the breeze across miles and miles, had wrapped an arm around his human partner and hauled him up the side of the mountain to stay the night in the shrine he made a home. Wary of him human's fragility he stripped off all of Sasuke's clothing and then wrapped them both inside the flowing kimono Naruto had worn the day they had met.

With worn out limbs and harsh breathing, Sasuke had been forced to stay the night with Naruto inside the draughty hut but later on that same night Sasuke had woken, naked and warm and their legs all curled together and he had laid Naruto out just as gently on his soft bed of leaves and grasses, smelling of fresh dew. He removed layer upon layer of his intricate dressings until a god lay bare before a human, his body heady and practically glowering in the dim light, illuminated in amber.

Gently, slowly, Sasuke made love to Naruto. He'd driven the god of the mountain to tears and if anyone had heard the long, rich moans that filled the shrine, if anyone knew how a human and a spirit had held each other that night, Naruto would have never been respected again.

Thank goodness for the snow storm.

With his legs up over his head, caramel skin flushed a deep red, Naruto tried to think of how this, and everything before could be unforgivable to his kin. But there was only Sasuke. Sasuke leaning over him, Sasuke moving inside of him. Sasuke moaning his name so, so loudly. Sasuke holding his body as it trembled like he couldn't believe this feeling was possible. Sasuke was human and fragile, but Naruto was the one quivering under his hands.

And they had carried on like that. After a while Sasuke had let Naruto come to his house too, making him stand to the side while he talked to the man and girl to make sure they couldn't see him. However Naruto found it uncomfortable to be what he was with Sasuke around- a spirit. He was happy to be with the raven but Sasuke had to be careful not to speak to him when others were looking. And the girl, 'Sakura', doted on Sasuke more than Naruto cared for.

They lived out their days together, slowly and blissfully, and as each day passed Naruto could only grow happier. His lover continued to grow into a fine, full-fledged man but neither of them really noticed the human aging even as the spirit did not. This was bliss.

This was the beginning, and the middle.

And this, this was the end.

Today, Sasuke, an old man had died. And today Naruto finally understood what it was Jiraiya had been saying all those years and came to realize how absurd the two of them together had been. To Naruto, Sasuke had always been beautiful, even as he grew old and weak. Always those same deep eyes that burned with an intellect and passions far past other mortals and a face that Naruto, no matter what age, loved so dearly. The same little smirk that made his lip twitch and snorting laugh that rang through the room even as his chest rattled. The same warmth. Naruto was only slightly older in terms of a god's life, still in the part of his time where he would not change physically for a number of years. He stayed static and gold through their time together. But Sasuke had passed away in his sleep, lying next to Naruto in his room in the big house through the bushes, curled up amongst one another. He hadn't been able to move from that house for a long time so with a lot of coaxing and promises of being able to sleep together, the still young fox god had come to reside in that room too. For the last few years, Sasuke had spoken openly to Naruto in front of people. The first time, Naruto had jumped, staring at him with big eyes and his mouth hanging wide open in awe of Sasuke's bravado. He'd only smirked and told the blond, "I'm an old man now, I can look insane." It had made Naruto the happiest he'd been in a long time.

But now he was gone.

And Naruto was alone.

Other spirits had sensed something wrong with the one who watched over them so precariously and he could feel many of them watching him, their eyes dark and moony, wondering what was going on. They gathered at the lake's edge as he stood in the middle, face lifted to the sky, arms hanging limp by his sides like the bones had all dissolved within them. He wanted to cry but, after all this time of Jiraiya calling him a crybaby, he couldn't.

Sasuke would say 'don't cry.'

'Wipe your face, idiot.'

'What are you doing with snot hanging out of your nose?'

'Don't cry over spilt milk, Stupid.'

Naruto didn't even like milk, but Sasuke had always said that when Naruto got teary over something stupid… Or rather, whenever Naruto had gotten teary-eyed at all. The blond knew it had been Sasuke's way of showing he cared.

But this...

This wasn't really stupid.

Although Jiraiya had often told him it was, that it was the obvious path their consensual future would take, Naruto never thought his relationship with Sasuke was stupid. Human or no, Sasuke was Sasuke. That was all.

His body felt unnaturally heavy, like the feeling of carrying Sasuke on his back or having the raven lie on top of him during one of their long 'naps' in the infancy of their relationship. Except it was cold. Not warm. He was honestly surprised that he could still stand on water with the weight that was bearing down upon his shoulders. He felt lost and yet confined, and the rest of his life seemed to be stretching out, unbearably long and painful, before him. If he had never met Sasuke, it wouldn't seem 'long', but compared to how long Sasuke had lived…

...it simply hadn't been long enough.

"Naruto." He didn't lower his chin. He knew this voice well. He didn't answer.

A few moments of silence wandered past. A frog croaked somewhere nearby and the reeds in the water sang.

"I heard a rumor on the wind… That one human died today," said Jiraiya suddenly, voice low and indifferent and giving the god no pretense onto what he was thinking. He tapped the end of his pipe out before looking back up to the blond, shielding his eyes from the sun with the other hand. Naruto couldn't find the energy to be angry at how uncaring a manner the toad spirit had said such a thing in when it wasn't his place. Such a thing about his Sasuke. He could so easily stamp his foot and topple the lily pad the other being was perched on or force the wind to blow him off, but he didn't seem to have the energy nor the will for those either.

"You're not crying? Hm, you've grown," Jiraiya mumbled past the end of his pipe with a little upturn of his lip and this time Naruto really was angry. His stomach grew hot and he could feel tears prickling at the edges of his vision as he opened his eyes and glared up into the sky. The clouds overhead hung darker with his ire.

I HAVEN'T GROWN AT ALL! SASUKE'S GONE AND I'M STILL-!

Naruto didn't want to open his mouth so he kept it shut, shutting out all those excess feelings along with it. He was scared that he'd do something stupid like call Sasuke's name or sound more lost that he seemed to be. Then again, losing his credibility was far less important than losing Sasuke. So he rocked forward once, then back on his heels and Jiraiya cried out ,"Oi! Naruto!" before the blonde tipped backwards and let himself crash into the water.

It was quiet beneath the surface, like he could just float down, down and away from everything that hurt while the water pressed in from all sides. Naruto let himself drop deeper and deeper, let water rush into his mouth and he took it all in with ease- he breathed it in like it belonged there. He murmured prayers to the lake spirits that they would take him over. He wanted to be with Sasuke. He wanted to see the other right at that very second, looking suave and sophisticated even in his easy yukata and light slippers- but unfortunately, gods didn't drown so easily.

Sasuke.

Sasuke.

Sasuke.

I love you.

Come back.

But he knew Sasuke wouldn't and that calling out would only make it hurt worse. It would be a long time until he would be able to meet with Sasuke again. In the place where Sasuke's warmth used to fill his chest, Naruto felt a strong pull suddenly, straight from where his heavy heart lay. He opened his eyes and looked up at the glimmer of daylight overhead. He could see the underside of Jiraiya's lily pad, the tip of his long hair dipped into the water as he stared down at Naruto, disgruntled through the glassy surface.

Looking up to the outside world, Naruto became conscious of what it was Sasuke had been trying to tell him the night before when he lay warm and laden amidst their bedcloth. He remembered the other muttering to him, sounding annoyed as Naruto ignored him and snuggled closer to his side, preoccupied with Sasuke's salt and pepper hair that never lost all of its colour. The words came clearly to him now.

"Hey, you stupid god, listen to me a second will you? I'm telling you that you should just live!"

"I am living! Now you shut up... You have no idea how loud that wheezing in your chest is, and it's only gonna keep getting worse if you keep yelling at me like that."

"No, not that! I mean live so you have something to tell me about."

"Tell you about what?"

"Something, Naruto. Something to tell me about."

And as they bickered lowly, it was something that passed through Sasuke's face. Naruto took a pause and leaned in to nuzzle at Sasuke's cheek. So very warm. And his skin so soft against Naruto's hyper sensitive flesh.

"How about I tell you about the day I met someone beautiful?"

A sigh and Sasuke turning his eyes away for a moment. But only for a moment.

"How about you do that."

"How about I do."

He'd skipped around Sasuke's meaning and got caught up in telling him the story of their lives in third person because that was what he loved to tell. But now...

Something to tell Sasuke about.

Jiraiya stuck his head under the water and called down to him, his voice loud and echoing. It reminded Naruto of bubbles Sasuke had once blown while they lay upon the water, floating along with the breeze as it pushed them from one side of the sparsely covered lake to the other; they floated among their bodies all wobbly and wonderful. When Sasuke's face had gained its first lines. Naruto began noticing the crinkle at the side of his eye and thought it all the more endearing.

"Naruto."

The blonde's foot touched the bottom of the lake and he stood looking through the water that grew murky as he looked onward, the silt turning everything blue-grey and blustery.

"Come back up, boy."

He pushed off with a small bounce and floated slowly upward.

When he broke the surface with the water skimming the edge of his lips, Jiraiya was watching him, peering into his face with small, wise eyes.

"Are you alright?"

Naruto didn't climb out of the water but, after a moment, closed his eyes into a sad but gentle smile.

"I will be, old man," he said softly, filling his mouth with the fresh water and then spitting it at Jiraiya who held up a hand quickly and stopped it in its tracks, expression unimpressed and slightly withered with the immature trick as the water turned to magic glossy marbles, gooey and round, and then dropped back into the lake. When Naruto laughed, it sounded almost full though the aching in his chest was strong and painful and he told himself to just keep trying.

I will be.

His fingers were full of wheat-gold hair, still soft and dewy underneath his fingertips. It was rare for his little fox-god to slumber so peacefully when Sasuke was still awake these days, so he knew he wanted to hold this image for as long as he could.

For as long as he could last.

Because he could feel it coming.

Because today was...

His own breaths were tight and labored in his chest as he took one slowly after the other, heavy with the weight of many human years and good, sturdy work. His body too big and too saggy in places still fit together well with Naruto's own as they snuggled together in their consensual warmth.

Sasuke felt it with every breath he took.

The tightening.

The squeak of cogs and bolts turning at his joints and bones shifting with each inhale.

Watery dark eyes tilted further to the side, nudging the other's head back with his chin until he could see all of Naruto's face.

Still beautiful. Still so, so beautiful.

In his mind's eye he pictured how Naruto's blue eyes- shining like the luminescent crystals he'd only seen royalty wear- didn't hold judgment over his aging body or the way he grew cranky when he didn't get proper sleep. They stayed full at all times. Of passion, of warmth. Of love.

'Love.'

Sasuke shuddered lightly as a sharp breath gripped his chest and salty water came swimming into his vision, blocking it, narrowing his already tunneled vision down to Naruto and only Naruto.

There was no Kakashi. No tiny Sakura to look after. No little frog god looking condescendingly upon the two nor a house buried deep in the brush.

There was only wheat and sunshine and gold and the way Naruto's soft, deceptively childlike breath beat against his face in time with his own heartbeat- beating so loud that it sounded like the organ was lodged way up in his ear canal. Sasuke took in as deep a breath as he could and shuddered as he let it out, rattling his old bones and feeling the air around them pulsate. His lover smelled sweet, like barley and lemongrass heating under the sun and Sasuke took in one more deep breath and then another and then another, breathing out with the thumping in his ears, his heart lulling.

Tight.

So tight.

He reached up his opposite hand, ignoring the way the length of his forearm shook at the effort, and brought his fingers down to trail along the edge of an orange ear. The fur was still ever soft and nipped playfully at his fingertips. He felt the tensing in his arm but ignored that too as his fingers ran down the length of the other's jaw to press against those petal-soft lips. Pink and rosy and he knew he would never forget their feel against his own.

Suddenly, a pull gripped at the pale man, something reaching deep inside his gut and tugging in small, short bursts.

A soft coaxing.

He took a choked breath, closing his eyes tightly before opening to focus firmly on Naruto's face.

He remembered distinctly the way the fox god's ears had twitched when they'd first pressed their palms together, flat and quaking. Sasuke's chest tightened as he breathed a deeper, more difficult breath. The small specks of red strung through the god's eyes when Sasuke trailed his fingers playfully between the seams of his yukata the first time, all laid back against the soft grass with his hair fanned out. The red strain in his eyes and across his cheeks daring Sasuke to act. A dull ache throbbed then, a pain but not a pain gripping first his innards of his frail body so venerable in his position on the floor, and then on to his frail mind. The reverberation from one body to another where they touched when they made love. The thumping growing louder, louder, louder. Naruto's deceptive childlike breath beating against his face- first one then two then three- Smelling of barley and lemongrass- thump- heating under the sun- thump- and Sasuke breathed him in- thump- smiling to himself-

One last time.

"Naruto sama!"

"Naruto sama! Don't leave us! Who will look after the mountain?!"

Naruto blinked slowly and settled himself more comfortably against the bed of leaves they'd laid for him despite all of their protests. He smiled a little as one of the younger spirits moved his pure white hair from his face, twining it back behind his ear with a reed. Over time he'd let his hair grow out and when Jiraiya had passed on, he'd tied it just the same as his mentor.

"Naruto sama…" Someone was crying. It was nice to know he was loved by those he watched over, but this was it. He was old and it was time.

"Don't go!"

The aged fox god blinked a little and turned still stunning blue eyes to the little one crying near his head. His lips twitched and teeth shone as he smiled.

"I have to go," he murmured. "I have someone to meet."

And that was it.

All at once, the bright colours pushing against his eyelashes pulsed to an almost unbearable shine before they just as quickly faded to watery pastels all running together like rain crying down window panes and then clearing- more, more, more- until all that was left was white.

The voices were gone.

Naruto simply lay there for a moment, and then he blinked once and felt something that resembled air fill his chest with a suddenness that had his whole being reeling.

And then, he was warm.

Looking to his hands he found the skin smooth and as he pushed away the layers of his kimono, his arms were the same rich colour they had been when he was a young fox. His body felt straighter and stronger, his bones not hollow and heavy as they had been before.

'Oh. I see.'

This was his soul, the spirit of a god, the true body of the being.

He wasn't conscious of anything around him, didn't know where he was or what it looked like, but none of that really mattered because at that moment, he heard something. Something he wasn't sure if he'd ever hear again. Somewhere behind him.

In that vast, white expanse, there was a voice.

"Naruto."

He turned quickly and, just like that, there he was. Just as Naruto remembered him from the day they first met. Maybe slightly older... or maybe not; there was no way to tell for sure. Sasuke's true body, the one that matched Naruto's, standing right behind him.

And he was beautiful.

His cheeks flushed that lovely human pink as their eyes met, dark hair falling to lay around his cheeks, all thick and black like nothing else. His eyes were warm as he stood there, arms straight at his sides and smiled fondly at the god before him.

Naruto didn't know what to do. His lips trembled and pulled strangely as he tried to return Sasuke's smile but he was so overcome with emotion he couldn't place that he couldn't do it properly. Couldn't smile for Sasuke who sighed softly in acceptance as Naruto simply stared at him.

"I…I've been waiting so long!" managed Naruto suddenly, his voice pitching up loudly at the end, hands clutching the obi of his magnificent kimono. He heard the train of orange fabric slide over something as he stepped forward anxiously though he couldn't register standing on anything at all. Sasuke was stepping forward too, suddenly, replying as he lifted a hand. Naruto unconsciously followed suit.

"It was much longer for me, Dobe," he said quietly as they came close, eyes mapping over the blond's face before catching Naruto's eyes again. Naruto lifted his chin to meet Sasuke's gaze. Before Sasuke had died Naruto had been a little taller. Sasuke had said humans shrunk. But now…

Forearms outstretched, fingertips touched tentatively and Sasuke, alongside Naruto, drew a long breath.

Of amazement, of bewilderment, of wholeness.

The god was suddenly acutely aware of the glossy sheen over the human's eyes as they slowly pressed their palms more firmly together. The sight of Sasuke's expression creasing with emotion; the flush that came to the skin beneath tear-filled eyes, his bottom lip pulled by teeth, jaw clenching- it was enough to have tears pooling in the corner of Naruto's eyes too.

Fingers slipped sideways to fill the gaps and inside of Naruto, a place that had been empty for far too long, was suddenly filled with a beautiful fire, blossoming beneath his breast bone and flooding throughout his body down all the way to the nerve endings in his fingertips and twitching toes and the length of his tail. The tears dripping off his chin caught in a light he couldn't see as Sasuke's free hand came around to rest at the small of Naruto's back, the blonde's slipping to pull Sasuke close by the band of his hakama.

So close. So much closer than they had been for such a long time-

Naruto raised himself onto his tiptoes and Sasuke dipped his chin. Their lips met in a long, tender kiss, broken only when Sasuke sobbed quietly against Naruto's mouth. The raven pressed close to him and Naruto breathed in Sasuke's gentle scent, closing his eyes as he turned his face into Sasuke's neck, too scared to move his hands to hold Sasuke in case it broke the spell. But deep down he knew he had nothing to fear.

This was eternity.

This was bliss.

This was nirvana.

"Hisashiburi, Sasuke."

"Aa… Hisashiburi."

They exchanged formalities, still holding hands.