FIRST (finished)STORY(that is not a joke) UPLOADED!

I'm HORRIBLE with titles which explains why the title for this story is so uncreative haha.

But still, please enjoy and know that I accept constructive criticism :D!

WARNINGS: Contains boyxboy love, specifically NaruSasu and KyuuNaru(cuz I love that crack pairing. There is not enough of it!) and tiny references to boyxboy sex but nothing explicit.

But the ending does have strong hints of SasuSaku. Whether you see it in a platonic-friendship way(which is what I intended) or a romantic way(which is how it comes across haha) is up to you.

EDIT: I AM SO FUCKING STUPID! All this time I JUST now realized I never credited the song D:! So the song that Naruto butchers is "What do Ya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert. It was all I had in my head at the time and it was the perfect song for Naruto to screw up. Yeah. SORRY for never having this up before!

"Good night Sasuke," Naruto yawned rolling off of Sasuke.

"Good night," Sasuke panted back. Naruto smiled and closed his eyes. He didn't pull Sasuke into his arms but when he curled up to sleep he didn't face away and that was good enough for Sasuke. Within a few seconds, Sasuke could hear Naruto's soft snoring signaling he was asleep.

The last Uchiha chuckled. It amused him so that Naruto was a stamina freak who could keep going even after hours of intense training; yet he fell asleep right after sex. He had told Sasuke once that he trained his body to fall asleep after the first orgasm so as not to push Sasuke beyond his limit, but Sasuke wasn't sure if he was bluffing or not(whether the doubt came about because Naruto was smiling when he said it or Sasuke's pride Sasuke wasn't sure).

But that didn't matter. What mattered was Naruto was now sleeping next to him, in his bed, after a night of lovemaking. Sasuke smiled gently at the blond's sleeping face, his eyes drinking in the sight of that tone, tanned body illuminated by the moonlight. How lucky was he? After years of pining, denial, and heartbreak, Sasuke finally won Naruto's heart.

There were so many obstacles in the way from his fangirls to Itachi. But no one obstacle was bigger than the threat that was Kyuubi.

Even thinking his name brought a frown to Sasuke's lips.

But the demon fox was gone now. Unfortunately not 'gone' in the way Sasuke would've liked. The seal that connected him and Naruto was forcibly weakened and thus he was out and about for a while in Konoha before he was free to leave and live in peace so long as he never attacked Konoha or its allies. It was a decision Sasuke almost regretted helping to make as he would've loved to keep the fox locked away in a dark cell for the rest of his life if not killed. But had they done that the demon would've never left and he and Naruto wouldn't have gotten together.

Sasuke smiled. And that's what mattered in the end. He and Naruto were together now. Finally together in a romantic sense. Because Naruto couldn't leave Konoha so when Kyuubi left Naruto didn't go with him. He chose Konoha. He chose Sasuke.

These thoughts were enough to distract Sasuke from the lingering pain in his butt and finally drift off to sleep.

"Morning sunshine!" Naruto greeted Sasuke as he walked into the kitchen. "Hungry?"

"Tch. Better not be ramen again," Sasuke snorted, but the amusement in his expression showed that he was teasing. Naruto stuck his tongue out at him.

"No it's not ramen! I'm making pancakes!" Naruto bragged. Sasuke smiled and shook his head. In the Uchiha household, Naruto not cooking ramen was an achievement in and of itself.

"I went digging through your kitchen cupboards and found boxes of the stuff. Sure they had a little mold on them but I think they're alright," Naruto added. He laughed loudly when Sasuke play punched him in arm.

"Watch it I may mess up!" He laughed. Sasuke smirked.

"Idiot, you're the one with moldly food in your apartment," he teased. Sasuke smelled the air and melted at the scent of the warm, delicious pancakes.

"They smell good. Chocolate chip?" He asked almost excitedly.

Naruto nodded. "Well, chocolate chip for me. Guess what I'm making for you? I'm making your absolute favorite. Blueberry!" Naruto exclaimed without giving Sasuke a chance to answer. Sasuke frowned.

"Blueberry? …I had blueberry pancakes in here?" He asked. "I thought we were out…"

Naruto didn't turn away from the pancakes as he answered.

"Well we were. But I saw some at the store and I just had to get them since I know you like them so much! With extra blueberries!"

"I see. Thank you Naruto," Sasuke said. He made himself a tall glass of orange juice which he nearly drunk in one gulp. He then sat down at the table and pulled out a scroll.

"I'm going to study this scroll Kakashi gave me," he said.

"Sure thing. You do that. Can't be distracted while I'm flipping these pancakes!" Naruto grinned at Sasuke while flipping a pancake. Sasuke smiled back but it was a little bit strained. Thankfully Naruto didn't notice as he turned back around and whistled a tune as he cooked.

Sasuke focused on his scroll, but he wasn't mad. He definitely wasn't upset in the least bit. This happened all the time. In fact, he thought it cute of Naruto to be so scatter-brained. And it was sweet of him to constantly buy unneeded boxes of blueberry pancakes and put the extra effort into cooking them because he thought they were Sasuke's favorite pancakes.

They weren't. Sasuke actually loved chocolate chip, just like Naruto. But blueberry wasn't bad. And it was okay to make himself believe that he loved blueberry pancakes the most. It was okay to watch Naruto run around the kitchen in his pancake mix-stained and blueberry-splattered shirt looking so happy to make blueberry pancakes for Sasuke. His lover. It was all okay because if it wasn't, then Sasuke would be forced to remind himself that blueberry pancakes were his favorite pancakes.

"Aw come on Sasuke! It looks fun doesn't it?" Naruto whined to his boyfriend. Sasuke rolled his eyes.

"Karaoke night always looks fun Naruto. But it isn't. It's just people getting drunk, underage by the way, and making fools out of themselves," Sasuke explained. It the police blood in him that made him remind Naruto every time they went drinking that what they were doing was illegal.

But the age thing stopped mattering to Naruto just a few months ago. Sasuke knew Jiraiya had been trying to get Naruto to have a stiff drink since he was 13 and his blond boyfriend spent a good four years resisting the temptation before finally saying 'fuck it'. Meanwhile, Sasuke had already stomped on the law and had his first alcoholic drink while under Orochimaru's tutelage(let's face it there were nights where Sasuke just could not be sober). He used to think it was something to be prideful over; he technically beat Naruto in yet another first. But he quickly jumped ships when he realized that Naruto's new interest in alcohol consumption had nothing to do with their rivalry and was in fact the result of…a poisonous influence(and that's ALL Sasuke will remember of the matter). To his credit, Naruto never pointed out Sasuke's hypocrisy. He usually ignored it.

Like now, Naruto glared at him and crossed his arms, but Sasuke knew he wouldn't say anything about their ages and drinking.

"That's the fun of it! Everyone is so crazily drunk that you can't help but have a good time! And I guess I'm one of those fools too?"

Sasuke blushed and looked away. "Of course not. You sing very well Naruto," he mumbled. It was true. Naruto somehow managed to sing like an angel even when drunk. The blond grinned and grabbed Sasuke's hand.

"So come on then! You probably sing really well too and we'd know if you'd try," Naruto tried to convince Sasuke. But the last Uchiha wasn't having it.

"Look we can do better things. Like train. We both need training." Naruto rolled his eyes.

"Sasuke we've been training all day. And we trained all day yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that! We've been training all day everyday together for the past two weeks! Can't we please just for once go out and have a night of fun?" Naruto asked. In his mind Sasuke remembered last's night's 'night of fun' and he felt blood pool in his nose. Now that was his definition of a night of fun. Not karaoke. He shook his head to regain his composure.

"You can never have too much training. Besides you still need to work on dispelling genjutsu," Sasuke stated. Naruto let go of Sasuke's hand to throw his hands up in the air.

"But all of our friends are gonna be there! Come on, you've been looking for a way to get Kiba back for that duck hair joke right? Well what better timing? Come on Sasuke he always-" Naruto abruptly cut himself off. He took a step back from Sasuke looking incredibly guilty.

Sasuke had his head bowed, his hair covering his eyes. He knew exactly what Naruto was about to say.

Kyuubi always agreed to go with him.

Kyuubi had become a forgotten term in the Uchiha household. Sasuke didn't even have to tell Naruto that he didn't want to hear anything regarding the demon fox. Not his name. Not about his past actions. Not about the times Naruto forced them all to have get-togethers. Not anything.

Sasuke wasn't mad at Naruto. Naruto respected that rule for the most part. He just slipped up a little every now and then. No big deal. His boyfriend was always a clumsy fool who was overly dependent on his relationships. Just because he has moved on from the demon kitsune, doesn't mean he has forgotten him. Mentioning his name wasn't Naruto's fault. He just took longer to get used to things. Sasuke just needed to be patient. There WILL come a time when he can go a full two days without accidentally referencing Kyuubi. And eventually, he'll forget he existed.

But until then, Sasuke can only blame himself for letting the poison have too much influence over his lover.

"Kiba can't hit high notes. And he'll do any dare when he's drunk. You could make him do a really, high pitched girly song?"

Sasuke looked up at Naruto and saw him squirming uncomfortably. He couldn't see his blue eyes as he squinted them in that Naruto(not at all fox)-like way of his. It was clear what he was trying to do. And it was enough. It was always enough.

Sasuke held out his hand and smiled. "Yeah I guess. Alright let's go hear some karaoke."

Naruto brightened up considerably. "YES!" He screamed before grabbing Sasuke's hand and dragging him through Konoha towards Lee's apartment. Sasuke had to run to keep up with the excited blond. He chuckled as Naruto rambled on about the songs people would sing and how bad Kiba would sound compared to Sasuke(if he sang which Naruto not so subtly hinted that he hoped he would).

And Sasuke listened to him talk. He listened to him talk without saying anything. It was okay. This was how the both of them got through the mistakes. Pretend that nothing was ever said.

Sasuke took another small sip of his drink as he watched his friends make fools of themselves.

Karaoke night was just as dull and boring as he thought it would be. Naruto left him at the door to go drinking with Kiba and Ino and then all three of them could barely get the karaoke machine to work right until 20 minutes later when Shikamaru finally had enough of their stupidity and is now setting the damn thing up himself.

Sakura was here of course. She was talking with Hinata and Lee over by the window. When he and Naruto showed up Sakura had only raised her cup in greeting before ignoring the two(well, ignoring Sasuke at least. You couldn't ignore Naruto). Sasuke was a bit miffed by this but he could understand it. His relationship with Naruto only happened a couple of weeks ago. It was natural Sakura would take some time adjusting to it. Nevertheless Sasuke discreetly kept an eye on her. He wasn't surprised to find out she was a drinker. She worked in a hospital so of course she had to have some release. But no matter how strong Sakura was or how much medical knowledge she knew, her instinct to help herself was never as strong as her instinct to help others. No doubt she was keeping a keen eye one everyone's alcohol intake except her own. And although Sasuke wasn't in love with her like she him, he couldn't stand to see her hurt(in this case, the threat is alcohol poisoning).

Choji was at the buffet of course and Neji and Tenten were right there to make sure he didn't eat everything(with all the alcohol everyone was consuming, there had to be some food to help balance it out). Shino and Sai were in a dark corner talking. …God knew what about and Sasuke didn't even want to try and guess. But he definitely didn't like the way Sai was glancing at Naruto. Sasuke had a half a mind to go up to Sai and show him what's what, but the urge died when he looked at Naruto just as he was turning around and they met eyes. Naruto smiled at him. At him not Sai. And Sasuke sat back down on Lee's couch because all felt right in the world again.

He took another gulp of his drink. He wasn't much of a talker. He was just content to be in the presence of the people he liked. That's why he liked the lunch outings. As long as no one spoke to him much, he was fine watching everyone else talk. But they haven't had that many outings as a group anymore. Not since-

Sasuke took another long drink.

When his friends get drunk though, it was like all bets were off. Karaoke night was the worst of it. But this was the first karaoke night they've had since-Sasuke drank some more-in a long time.

Out of sight out of mind. Out of sight out of mind. If Sasuke couldn't forget him, Naruto couldn't.

With that resolve Sasuke took another drink. This was going to be enjoyable he thought(or maybe the alcohol made him think). As long as he didn't get up to sing, as long as Sai kept his hands away from Naruto, and as long as Kiba dutifully embarrassed himself, everything would be alright.

"Alright it's set up," Shikamaru stretched. Kiba slung an arm around his shoulders.

"Thanks genius buddy. We woulda never figured it out!"

"Yeah! There were soooooo many goddamn controls and wires and buttons and shit," Naruto slurred and Ino nodded in agreement. Shikamaru sighed in exasperation.

"It wasn't that hard you idiots," he muttered. Either the three loudmouths didn't hear or they didn't care, but when Naruto shouted "KARAOKE TIME!" it was all forgotten as everyone crowded around the couch Sasuke was sitting on and stared at the makeshift stage with the big TV.

Sasuke noticed Sakura was the last to reach them. He saw her look around for a spot and notice that the only seat left open was the one next to Sasuke. It irked him to see her actually look around some more, but he squashed that feeling when he realized that if she sat there, where would Naruto sit? Sasuke was going to find out apparently as Sakura plopped down next to him as soon as he had that thought.

She took a sip of her drink and ignored him.

Naruto it turns out had no problem sitting on the stage after he had grabbed another bottle. Although Sasuke felt like getting up and shouting that he had no problem with Naruto sitting on his lap, he was feeling a bit lazy because of the alcohol and thus let it go.

The karaoke CD was popped in and Ino was going first("To set the standard," she said).

She was…an interesting singer when she was drunk to say the least. She wasn't bad in anyway. But Sasuke had never quite heard a voice like hers before. She wasn't the only interesting singer. Neji, Tenten, Choji, and Shino were also interesting in their own way. And it was amazing what the power of alcoholic confidence and a microphone could do to Hinata's voice. Sasuke never believed she had it in her. Although he was tempted to stop clapping when she blushed heavily at Naruto's compliment. It reminded him that she liked Naruto too. By the time it was Kiba's turn, Sasuke was actually pretty excited(it was mainly the alcohol of course).

As Kiba walked up on stage, Sasuke felt a poke at his neck. He turned to see Naruto grinning at him, a fresh bottle in his hand.

"Now's your chance," he winked. Sasuke smirked. Of course, his revenge. Trust Naruto to remember that for him. He was always looking out for him. It proved he really loved him.

"Oi! Kiba!" Sasuke called.

"What?" Kiba answered nearly tripping over himself turning to face Sasuke.

"I have a dare for you."

"A dare huh?" Kiba asked already looking excited. "What? Bring it! I can do annnnnnnything you dare me to!"

Sasuke smirked. Naruto wasn't wrong. He looked for the blond for no reason other to share a laugh in excitement, but he saw Naruto was too busy drinking to make eye contact(what bottle was he on now? He was drinking kind of fast wasn't he?). Sasuke shrugged. Whatever they'll laugh later.

"I dare you to sing the girliest, highest-pitched song on that karaoke machine," Sasuke smirked. His smirk grew when he saw Kiba pale a bit. Ino giggled loudly and even sung a high-pitched laaaa just to taunt the dog boy.

"F-F-Fine!" Kiba shouted glaring at Sasuke. He took his sweet time looking for a song and was even slower getting up and walking to the middle of the stage to look at the TV.

"You can do it Kiba-kun!" Hinata shouted. She obviously was the only one who thought so as Sasuke heard a couple of his friends coughing into their hands. Sasuke was surprised to see Hinata actually glare at them. She should get drunk more. It did wonders for her confidence.

Too bad it didn't do much for Kiba's singing ability.

Sasuke would've felt bad if he wasn't laughing so hard. They were all laughing, even Hinata. And it got even better when Kiba decided to let loose and sing as loudly and obnoxiously as possible, hitting all the wrong notes and obviously having a blast doing it. Even though Kiba having a good time completely ruined the revenge aspect, Sasuke didn't care.

He was having fun! He was having fun laughing at a friend who couldn't sing at a drunk party with all of his friends. And of course his lover. And there was no-

Oh! Naruto should sing Sasuke thought. He turned to see him lover at the make-shift bar opening another bottle.

"Oi! Naruto! Get up there and sing!" Sasuke said louder than necessary. Maybe it was the alcohol(it did strange things to Sasuke's eyesight) but Naruto looked a little nervous. He shook his head.

"Not tonight Sasuke," he said taking a sip. Again maybe it was his eyesight playing tricks on him but Naruto looked like he was swaying a little on the bar stool. It was probably an optical illusion caused by the bar stool(alcohol also did very strange things to Sasuke's logic).

"Aw come onnnn! You tried so hard to get me here! I need to hear you sing! It'll be fun!" Sasuke slurred a bit. Naruto shook his head again.

"I'm having fun watching everybody else sing. Really Sasuke, I'll sing for you later or something. I'm fine right now," Naruto mumbled. It was quiet enough that Sasuke had to strain himself a little to hear it. If Sasuke were more sober, then Naruto would look oddly depressed to him; he stared down at the counter of the bar slowly swirling around his half-empty drink. But to a drunk Sasuke, Naruto just looked like he was being coy.

"Look if you sing, I'll sing," Sasuke offered. Naruto looked at him.

"Really?" He asked. Sasuke nodded. Naruto looked like he wanted to reject but then Tenten shouted,

"Oh my God! Sasuke-kun never sings! Do it Naruto! I need to hear him sing!"

This started off a chain of cries from their friends. All of them chanted for Naruto to sing and questioned why he didn't want to when he always had before. The only one quiet was Sakura who stared thoughtfully at Naruto. Naruto finally shrugged and stood up to the cheers of everyone else in the room. He nearly fell over and stumbled quite a few times in his quest to the stage. Had his friends been more sober then maybe they would've been worried. But as Naruto laughed loudly each time he stumbled, they couldn't help but laugh too.

"Now then…let's see…" Naruto said trying to decide what song to sing.

"Pick a good one!" Someone shouted.

"I know that," Naruto replied. He finally picked one and amazingly managed to do it without turning off the machine or breaking it in any way. He tripped on air trying to reach the center of the stage. Sasuke felt worry clog his heart until he heard Naruto laugh and say "oops" before getting up again. Sasuke grinned. That was his Naruto. Nothing was wrong as long as his blond was laughing. It appeared to Sasuke that everyone else thought so too. Except Sakura who strangely looked worried.

Sasuke snorted. She could be such a worrywart sometimes. Ever since his relationship with Naruto began she had been looking at Naruto worried nonstop. It was starting to get on his nerves. She needed to lighten up a little and let him and Naruto be happy together.

Naruto had finally made it to the center of the stage and the music started.

As Sasuke expected, Naruto sang beautifully.

Every note was right on pitch. His voice flowed throughout the room like a calm river. Sasuke could just close his eyes and bask in the beautifulness of his voice. How lucky was he? He was able to hear that voice every day and every night for the rest of their lives. It was all going so perfect ever since Kyuubi left.

So Sasuke had no way to know things would go so wrong.

"Just don't give up! I'm working it out," Naruto sang. Sasuke bobbed his head with his eyes closed. He didn't notice Naruto swaying dangerously on the stage.

"Please…! Please don't…leave me. I don't want you to go…" Naruto stumbled. Sasuke paused. Those weren't the words. Was Naruto improvising again?

"I really messed up! N-Need you nee-eed. Just keep…! Just come back to meeee…"

Something was wrong. Naruto stopped singing but the music was still going. Sasuke opened his eyes and stared worriedly as Naruto stood still on the stage. He could hear his friends whisper and call out Naruto's name but Naruto wasn't responding. What was wrong with him? Sakura stood up abruptly next to him.

"Naruto?" She cried.

"Kyuubi..." And with that Naruto fell over off of the stage.

Sasuke barely heard Hinata's scream. He saw a mass blur of bodies moving towards the stage with a pinkish-red blur and a yellowish-purple blur reaching Naruto's eerily still body.

"Nobody panic. He's cracked his head open. Go grab some…" Sakura's voice trailed off into intelligible mumbles in Sasuke's ears. Colors blurred together. Dots of pink, blue, black, purple, green, white, every color on the fucking spectrum appeared in front of Sasuke's eyes.

But it was okay.

It was okay. People said stupid things when they were drunk. They said things without thinking. They had loose lips. They say things they don't really mean.

It was okay that Naruto said his name.

Sasuke winced as he heard the loud sound of flesh against wood.

It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that Naruto had been at this long after they had finished training for the day. He stared the blond from behind a tree. Sasuke wished he could say that Naruto looked determined and focused as he punched the wooden dummy. But he didn't. Naruto looked angry.

Ever since he had gotten out of the hospital a week ago, things had changed, especially in regards to their training.

Naruto was quiet around the house. No longer did he greet Sasuke in the morning enthusiastically. No longer did he ramble nonstop to Sasuke when things were quiet around the house. All of Kyuubi's favorite foods had been thrown out(including the blueberry pancakes. Sasuke found it bittersweet when Naruto actually apologized to him for throwing out his 'favorite' pancakes). Naruto hadn't made a reference to Kyuubi once. Not even a 'he'.

And training…Sasuke didn't know what to do about that. Naruto was doing what Sasuke wanted. He took training seriously; threw himself into it vigorously. He didn't joke or taunt Sasuke in that stupid, immature way of his. He didn't jump around the training ground laughing as Sasuke chased him angrily yelling at him to 'be serious'. He didn't constantly ask for a lunch break or a dinner break or a nap break or even a break in general anymore. In fact, Sasuke had to remind him that they had to eat.

But what really scared Sasuke was the harm he was doing to himself. Punching wood without protection was the least of it. He would constantly ask Sasuke to give it his all(which Sasuke can't because doing so would destroy the training grounds) and durability training was the worst. Sasuke always felt his heart twist when Naruto would force him to use one of his top-level genjutsus that would leave Naruto on the floor withering in pain and moaning in agony. After which he would only get back up and get back into training again.

And all of this, while there were still bandages wrapped around his head.

Sasuke suspected brain damage of some sort and mentioned to Naruto that they should go see Tsunade again. But Naruto only blew up at him(his ears were still ringing) and ran off. Sasuke couldn't exactly blame him. He'd be mad too if someone went up to him and seriously accused him of brain damage when there obviously wasn't. But damn if it didn't hurt to get yelled at by Naruto like that.

When he didn't return home within 15 minutes, Sasuke went out to search for him. Surprise, surprise here he is at the training grounds. Punching a wooden dummy and bloodying up his knuckles with his bandages dangerously close to unraveling. Sasuke needed to stop this before Naruto seriously hurt himself again.

"Naruto," he called out coming from behind the tree.

"What?" Naruto replied without stopping.

"It's getting late. You should come back."

"Who are you? My mother?" Normally such a taunt from Naruto would be taken in jest but there was a steel edge to his voice that made Sasuke's heart twinge.

"No you're mother's dead. Like you will be if you don't stop and relax right now."

"Go away Sasuke. I'm not leaving."

"Oh yes you are. You're still weak-"

"I SAID NO!" Naruto snarled finally stopping to turn and glower at Sasuke. For a second, Sasuke thought Naruto would attack him. Naruto actually growled at him. An animalistic growl that sent shivers down the raven-haired Uchiha's spine. And his eyes. His beautiful sapphire blue eyes had darkened into a stormy grey with anger. Anger that pierced Sasuke to the very core.

"What is wrong with you?" He whispered. It was that question along with the tensing of Sasuke's body that snapped Naruto out of it. His eyes widened and he paled considerably as he stepped back from Sasuke.

"I…I…Oh God Sasuke! I'm sorry! I don't know what's-" Naruto cut himself off by burying his face into his hands. He shivered once before abruptly looking up at Sasuke.

"I just need some release okay! I feel trapped and weak and run down and I just need to…I need to…" Naruto trailed off. Seeing Naruto obviously upset calmed Sasuke down. His eyes crinkled in worry.

"Because of your head? He asked. Naruto froze for the quickest second.

"Yeah," Naruto mumbled looking away. "It's my head…"

"I understand," Sasuke smiled a small smile. "You spent three weeks in the hospital. And I know you're used to spending less time there. Even I would feel a little rusty. It'll all be okay Naruto. Look tomorrow we'll go to see Tsunade to get a mission. You'll feel better after that okay?"

Naruto nodded a little. Sasuke thought about going over to give him a hug but then he had a better idea.

"Why don't you pick up your stuff and I'll head on back and make you some ramen?" He offered. Naruto didn't answer but he dropped to his knees to start picking up his kunai. Although Sasuke was slightly miffed that Naruto didn't answer him, at least he was packing up. He nodded slightly and turned around to head back. He only took two steps before Naruto called his name.

"Wait Sasuke!" Sasuke stopped and turned around to look at Naruto confused. Naruto looked up at him shakily.

"It's not you okay? It's not you," he nearly whimpered. Sasuke was confused and slightly distressed at his tone of voice. He was about to ask Naruto to elaborate further when he noticed the desperation in his eyes. He just wanted Sasuke to answer. Even if Sasuke didn't know what he was answering to, he took pity on his boyfriend and decided to do what he wanted without asking. He'll most likely tell him later anyways.


Sasuke paled. Sakura winced. Naruto's eyes widened.

Tsunade shrugged.

"It's the only C-rank we have available on us right now. You can either take it or leave it," she said. Clearly she wasn't about to try and sway any decision.

Sasuke gulped loudly. His hands shook. No. Nononononono. No. There was no way. There was no way they could take this mission. No way. It would ruin everything. It would tear his whole life up until now apart. NO! They can't do it! That's where he was last seen.

And yet despite these thoughts, Sasuke had nothing to say when Sakura spoke up.

"We'll take it Tsunade-sama. After all we could all use a nice, challenging mission. It'll help get us back on our feet given the past month," Sakura explained.

They didn't need a mission to get back on their feet. Especially not this one! Naruto and he had been training so much every day. They were okay. They were OKAY!

"Well if there are no objections…" Tsunade looked directly at Sasuke. "Then I guess you can-"

"Wait!" Sasuke shouted. Everyone looked at him. "Sakura's right. We need a mission to get back on our feet. But a little C-rank won't do that. Let's make it B," Sasuke tried. Tsunade narrowed her eyes.

"Were you not listening to me when you first showed up? I'm not giving you three any mission higher than a C-rank! If you want a B-rank then Naruto will have to sit this out because I refuse to have him out on a dangerous mission while he's recovering!" Tsunade scolded.

"Sasuke?" Sasuke heard Naruto's voice call out. It was the first thing he said since they've been there. Sasuke didn't want to look at him. He really, really, really didn't want to look at him. But his body betrayed him as he slowly turned his head to meet Naruto.

"Sasuke come on. We can do this. It's just a little C-rank! Nothing at all to worry about okay? You don't have anything to worry about," Naruto grinned placing a lot of emphasis on the last sentence. The grin was reassuring. And so was the emphasis. And Naruto sounded so confident. So how could Sasuke say no?

"Alright then."

An hour later and Sasuke was feeling distress, regret, and anxiety all in one. It was bad for him to feel these emotions, especially on the way to a mission. But he couldn't help himself. There was a chance everything could go wrong. Everything could fall apart! Everything-

"Sasuke-kun?" Sakura's voice called out. "Are you okay?"

Sasuke flinched. Okay, okay, okay! Why did they keep using that word! His anger must've shown on his face as he then heard Sakura say, "let's take a break."

Neither Sasuke nor Naruto argued with this.

Five minutes later lunch was out and Team 7 was eating quietly. Sakura was slowly eating her food, glancing between Sasuke and Naruto. She was clearly worried, but wasn't going to say anything in this deafening silence. Naruto was staring at his food. He had a look of concentration on his face that has been there since they left. He hasn't said a word either since they left the Hokage's mansion. Not even when he and Sasuke were packing did he say anything.

Why? What was he thinking about? Was he thinking of…Oh God no.

Sasuke couldn't take it anymore.

He slammed his bowl on the ground, not caring at all that some food fell out.

"Naruto!" he shouted getting Naruto's attention.


"You're not thinking of him are you?"

"Him?" Naruto asked obviously playing dumb. Sasuke bristled at the insult to his feelings.

"HIM YOU NUMBSKULL! KYUUBI! ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT KYUUBI?" Sasuke shouted. Both Sakura and Naruto jumped and their hearts pounded. Sasuke just yelled. And Sasuke just referenced Kyuubi. Something hadn't done since Kyuubi left two months ago.

"Sas-" Naruto started but Sasuke cut him off.

"Don't you dare think about it Naruto! I know you're hoping to see him here! I can see it in your eyes," Sasuke pointed out. Naruto sweated a little.

"Sasuke that's not true! I'm over-"

"Don't fucking lie to me!" Sasuke shouted. "I know you've been thinking about him all this time! I know you're still in love him and that you wish he was still here! But you know what? TOUGH! You chose me Naruto. You love me now. You can't think about running off with him! Don't you dare think about running off with him!" Sasuke screamed. He was panting heavily after that outburst but it felt so good to finally get it off of his chest. Because Naruto needed to understand. He needed to understand that his opportunity with Kyuubi was gone. It was gone the moment Sasuke told Tsunade that he caught Kyuubi and Naruto out in the woods. It was gone the moment Sasuke told Kyuubi that if he really loved Naruto, he would be able to protect him from the villagers' wrath once they find out who 'the new Team 7 member' really was. Naruto just sat there calmly.

"Sasuke, you're wrong. I don't love Kyuubi. I don't. Yeah I may miss him a little. But I don't want him that way. You're right in that I love you now," Naruto grabbed Sasuke's hands and looked at him straight in the eyes. "I chose you and Konoha that night. If I really loved Kyuubi, I would've gone with him the first time. Kyuubi was just a friend andonly a friend. He was there when I needed him in the past and I'll never forget that. But I don't love him okay? I love you. That's why we're together now," Naruto smiled.

It was what Sasuke needed to hear. It was exactly what Sasuke needed to hear from Naruto. He threw his arms around Naruto's neck and buried his face in Naruto's neck. He just held Naruto tightly. Sakura looked at the ground. Did they have to do this in front of her? Couldn't they wait until they got to Takumi village or something?

"It will all be alright Sasuke."

"Promise me," Sasuke mumbled. Naruto blinked. "What?"

"Promise me you won't leave me. Promise me you won't leave me for him. Promise me Naruto!" Sasuke demanded bringing his head up and glaring at the blond. Naruto's jaw dropped as he gaped at Sasuke.

"I-" Naruto cut himself off by jumping, with Sasuke in his arms, out of the way of a rain of kunai. He immediately let Sasuke go and fell into a fighting stance as he faced the enemy. Sakura dropped her food and copied him. Sasuke gave Naruto one last glance before doing the same.

There had to have been at least ten bandits; each one holding a (most likely stolen)weapon of some kind. No one said anything. The fight just started.

Sasuke was handling himself well enough. These bandits were stronger than the average one. It made sense seeing as how he had heard rumors of Orochimaru's runaways making their way to the Land of Rivers to start trouble.

There were 19 bandits in total and it took two minutes for them to get rid of eight of them. Sasuke then knocked out two more of them and was fighting his third. He could see Sakura to his left breaking the bones of two other bandits(he had to smirk in pride, thinking about how far she has come). And Naruto was to his right, fighting a group of three.

Where the last three were Sasuke didn't know. But it was hard to try and find them when there was someone swinging two daggers at you in a taijutsu style that was way too advanced for the average bandit. It also put Sakura on edge to see that three of the bandits were missing. She had already used up some of her chakra fighting these guys and she wanted to make sure she had enough to heal Naruto and Sasuke just in case. Not knowing where those three men were…they could be up to anything.

Sasuke and Sakura paled considerably when they heard Naruto scream.

They both looked over to see Naruto being slammed into his tree. The orange jacket he wore was now red where his shoulder was and when he hit the ground he held it in pain. Naruto looked around frantically, but oddly not at the five men standing in front of him.

"Naruto!" Sasuke shouted just barely managing to block a quick an attack from his opponent. He hissed in pain as the dagger sliced his wrist. But he ignored the pain when he saw one of the five men start to do something suspicious. He ignored his opponent and ran to try and protect his downed lover.

"Naruto!" Sakura cried as she finally found an opening where she threw a chakra-enhanced punch to one of the bandits knocking him out. She gasped as she saw one of the five men make a hand seal. She saw Sasuke shove the guy he was fighting away and turned to run towards Naruto. She felt like screaming. The guy he was fighting wasn't done! He was going after Sasuke while he had his back turned-

Sakura froze. The other bandit she was fighting was right behind her, breathing on her neck, his kunai poking the back of her throat.

Team 7 couldn't go down like this. Could they? A simple C-rank?

Of course not.


Everyone stopped and turned to stare at the body of the final bandit. His face was frozen in fear and his throat was torn out.

No way. Was he really here?

"I'd advise you to let them go. Now," a deep voice rang throughout the forest. A red-haired, red-eyed man stepped out from behind the trees. His once white shirt and grey pants were now stained red with blood. His pinkish lips stretched into a sadistic grin as he eyed the bandits and he brought his bloody hand up to his mouth.

"Or else you'll have to deal with me," he said licking the blood off of his hands.

Sakura couldn't say anything.

Sasuke wanted this to be a dream.

The bandits were torn between running in terror or putting up a futile fight.

And Naruto was the one who broke the silence.

"So my eyes weren't playing tricks. I really saw you. Kyuubi…"

Sakura sighed as checked the final ramen stand in town and found it to be devoid of Naruto.

Where could that idiot be? Didn't he know Sasuke was worried sick about him? That even though the mission was over they still didn't have time for Naruto to wander off and sulk? They still had to report the mission! Sakura sighed when she saw the sun about to disappear over the horizon. She had been looking for Naruto all afternoon and really needed a break. Sakura looked up to see a bar. That will do.

She walked in and wasn't too surprised, but pretty irritated, to see Naruto sitting at one of the tables in the back. He wasn't hard to spot. The bar was pretty empty and he was the only orange-wearing chuunin in here. She marched up to his table and sat down.

"I don't care if you're drunk, you are going to talk to me," she stated getting right to business.

"I'm not drunk," Naruto mumbled.

"Then why are you here?"

"I'm here because Sasuke hates the smell of bars. He says that the combination of alcohol and cigarette smoke make him nauseous."

"Wait," Sakura blinked. "So you're avoiding Sasuke-kun? Why Naruto? He's about to tear his hair out!"

Naruto shook his head. "I can't talk to him right now. I don't even know if I'll be able to even face him again."

Sakura's green eyes softened in understanding. She lowered her head a bit and looked around to see if anyone was listening in. When she saw it was clear, she asked, "is this about…?"

Naruto nodded and then laughed bitterly and shook his head.

"He was right Sakura. He was absolutely right," he said. Sakura didn't even need to ask to know what Naruto was talking about. He told her anyway.

"I love him. I love him Sakura I'm still in love with Kyuubi! I never fell out of love with him! When he left and I decided to stay I thought it was the end of us! I thought I could forget about him and move on because I…I just…I didn't want to admit I made a mistake! But I did Sakura. Sasuke was right I couldn't stop thinking about him. I thought about him all the time! When I was eating, sleeping, training, God even when I was having sex!" Naruto nearly shouted. He took a few deep breaths and slumped in his chair. "I more than missed him Sakura. I needed him."

"If you loved him when he left, why did you get with Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked calmly. She looked calm on the outside but on the inside she was torn.

She knew it.

She knew it the moment Sasuke and Naruto showed up to the bridge holding hands. She knew it. Ever since Kyuubi first showed up on their team Sakura knew the relationship between him and Naruto went much deeper than they had let on(never doubt a girl's eye for love). The look on Naruto's face when Kyuubi left the gates of Konoha told Sakura all she needed to know. Sasuke was just a rebound. Their relationship was doomed to fail from the very beginning. Knowing what the role Sasuke took in this situation and the fact that weeks after he still refused to tell Naruto supported that belief.

But how could she tell Sasuke that?

She couldn't. So she avoided him.

Judging by the uncomfortable look on Naruto's face as the silence stretched on, Sakura could tell Naruto had a hard time trying to figure out how to answer that question on as well.

"I think," Naruto started, finally answering the question, "I think I told myself that if Sasuke could love me the way Kyuubi did, show me the same devotion, then I would eventually fall in love with him too."

"'Eventually'?" Sakura repeated. Naruto looked at her in the eyes.

"I don't love Sasuke Sakura. Seeing Kyuubi again made me realize that. I've been lying to you, to Sasuke, to everybody, even to myself these past two months. I wanted so bad to love him that way because if I did, it would take away the hurt that Kyuubi left and both of us could be happy. But…seeing Kyuubi again…it's like I've been living with a friend these past two months. Minus the you-know-what parts."

Sakura coughed into her hand an angry blush on her face. "Yes I am aware of that Naruto," she said. Then she calm down.

"So what are you going to do?" She asked. In all honesty she was curious as to what Naruto would do. Did he have it in him to really leave Sasuke like that?

Naruto grim look told Sakura all she needed to know.

"I'm meeting with him tonight."

"So that's what he whispered to you," Sakura pointed out.

"Uh…yeah," a tinge of red appeared on Naruto's cheeks suggesting to Sakura that wasn't all Kyuubi said. "If he asks me to stay with him, I won't be able to say no."

"'If' he asks?" Sakura repeated with an eyebrow raised. Naruto closed his eyes and shrugged.

"I may have been miserable without him but doesn't mean he was miserable about me. He could've…you know settled down a bit and made a life here," Naruto chuckled a little as if it was a joke but Sakura could easily see that the thought of Kyuubi not wanting him brought Naruto much more pain than he let on. To ease his thoughts a little, Sakura brought up another aspect.

"What about Tsunade-sama? Do you really think she'll just let you leave on a mission and never come back?" A hard question, but Naruto brightened up a little.

"I already talked to her about this. Before we left on the mission-"

"Wait, so that's why you stayed behind?" Sakura interrupted. Naruto didn't mind as he nodded.

"Yeah when I asked to stay behind to talk about my head, I was actually talking about staying with Kyuubi. I just…didn't want to do it in front of Sasuke."

"Sounds like you knew ahead of time that this would happen," Sakura pointed out. Her tone was harder than she meant but it did irritate her to hear that Naruto had actually been planning on breaking Sasuke's heart. Even though she knew this situation was a result of his actions, Sakura didn't believe Sasuke deserved to be tossed aside like that. Naruto looked guilty.

"I know, I know. I'm a jerk. Tsunade-baa-chan spent a few minutes telling me that. But she also agreed that if I want to leave with him I can."

"Whoa she agreed? Just like that?"

"Not exactly. It took a little persuasion," Naruto's eyes notably darkened and Sakura could only imagine the shouting that went on. When Kyuubi was a part of Team 7, Tsunade never made it a secret what she thought of the beast(and for that matter, neither did Jiraiya or Kakashi).

"But we agreed to a truce. Think of it as an Ero-Sennin like situation. Kyuubi and I can wander the world, but we must remain loyal to Konoha. And we have to visit every now and then."

"Wow," Sakura looked impressed. She honestly was surprised Tsunade let Naruto go considering how much she cared about him. It was amazing how Naruto could talk people into doing things his way.

"And what will you do if Kyuubi doesn't ask you to go with him?" She asked. Not to bring Naruto's spirits down, but because she needed to make sure of something. Naruto looked at the ceiling in thought.

"Then I guess I go back to Konoha. I don't know what I'll do but…one thing's for sure. I have to break up with Sasuke. I just can't keep stringing him along like this. He deserves so much better than me."

Sakura nodded, happy to hear the answer she wanted. Although she knew Sasuke would argue the 'deserving' part Sakura knew Naruto was right. Sasuke did deserve someone who would love and cherish him just as much as he loved and cherished them. And unfortunately, Naruto only saw Sasuke as a friend. But, she bit her lip, there was one only one more thing…

"What about your dream of becoming Hokage? You'll have to come back for that right?" Sakura asked in a small voice. Naruto stared at her for a few seconds before smiling a small smile. It seemed he saw right through her question.

"I'll probably want to avoid Konoha for a while after this. But rest assured Tsunade-obaa-chan would NOT let me make this deal without promising to visit you guys. And I wouldn't either. I may love Kyuubi more than anything, but you guys are important to me too. If I can have both of you in my life then I will be the happiest guy alive!" Naruto grinned. Sakura smiled in response but then quickly frowned.

"But then why can't you-…never mind," she shook her head and looked down. She knew having both Kyuubi and Naruto living in Konoha was just wishful thinking. There was no way they could force Kyuubi to keep hiding his identity from the villagers. The truth would inevitably be revealed and then what? There's no way the villagers will be able to forgive Kyuubi for what he did so easily. Even though it was Madara Uchiha who started the whole thing, trying convincing the village that could take a while. Not to mention it could undo all of the progress Naruto has made and could in fact make it worse. Besides, so many people are attracted to Kyuubi's power that it would be easier to keep Konoha safe if he didn't live in it. It was all for the best that Naruto and Kyuubi stayed away for a while.

But still, Sakura wished they could all be happy together. Just like before.

She jumped and looked up when she felt a warm hand on her own.

"Don't get me wrong. Becoming Hokage is still my top goal. But it looks like I'll have to try and strive for it outside of the village first. I promise. When this whole thing blows over, when Sasuke, hopefully, moves on. We'll visit. We'll stay for as long as we can. And every night all of us, the Konoha 12 and Kyuubi will get together and do all the fun things we used to, alright?" Naruto smiled warmly at her.

Sakura felt a genuine smile form on her lips.


'That idiot. Talking like he's already gone.'

A coffee maker beeped.

Coffee was poured into a complimentary mug.

The clock struck four times.

A window opened and a figure hopped into the kitchen area.

Sakura smiled while she held her hot coffee. Even in the darkness she could recognize Naruto. Even in the darkness she could see his bright eyes and lovesick smile.

"What happened?"

"We had a fight."

Even in the darkness Sakura's keen, medic-nin-trained eyes could spot the mouth-shaped bruises and love bites going all along Naruto's tan neck. Even in the darkness she could see how he limped over to the counter she was leaning on.

"But everything's alright now."

Even at four in the morning she knew what that meant.

"I guess I should wake Sasuke-kun up so you can tell him good-bye huh?"

Five months ago Shiori Yuu threw a wrench into Team 7's lives by accidentally releasing a red-haired, red-eyed, and still powerful Kyuubi from his cage.

Four months ago another change happened when Sakura and Sasuke realized the looks Naruto gave Kyuubi when his back was turned were no longer glares.

Three months ago Sakura realized Naruto stayed by Kyuubi's side longer, smiled brighter around him, blushed more under his gaze, invited him out more to their friendly outings with the other teams, found more and more excuses to touch him, and disappeared into the forest with him more often when training was over.

Two months ago Kyuubi was forced to leave Konoha because his identity was in danger of being found out by the villagers. That was the official story that every one of their friends believed and Sakura was the only one who noticed the glares Sasuke, Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Kakashi sent Kyuubi's way as he walked out and the heartbroken look on Naruto's face as his world walked away from him.

One month ago, Naruto in a drunken stupor admitted how much he really missed Kyuubi.

And now…It was completely and utterly silent.

In spite of herself Sakura had to admire Sasuke.

He really was a true ninja. If she didn't know what had just happened, she would've completely fallen for the emotionless mask he wore on his face.

Granted, he was probably waiting until he got home away from prying eyes to let it all loose. But Sakura had to admit, he was taking this reasonably well. A lot better than she thought he would. She expected bloodshed and screaming and cries of betrayal. But none of the above happened. Her Sasuke-kun kept his cool in a true Uchiha fashion.

Still she knew that inside, he was not cool.

This silence, the amount of tension surrounding him; it would be a long time before he ever became 'cool' again.

But that was…fine.

It was fine because Sakura was going to be there this time. She won't leave him to make desperate decisions motivated by irrational emotions anymore. She wasn't going to expect him to return her feelings at all. But she would help him anyway. Because she cared about him. She was in love with him.

And she wanted to make sure he was okay.

"It's been three days. It's not the end of the world you know."

"I know that!" Tears so many tears and sobs. He had to end them.

"…So why don't I prove it to you? Wanna go out…with me?...To Ichiraku?"

A pause, a sniffle, and then a beautiful but shaky smile. "Sure Sasuke. I'd like that."

It was amazing, Sasuke thought. It was simply amazing that this forest was still standing.

It was Kyuubi's forest for the time being. Sasuke should have no problem burning it to the ground. Who cared about the little animals and vegetation and the ecological effect such an action would have? Sasuke didn't.

He didn't even care that if he let his emotions loose right now, that Sakura would bear witness to it.

He liked Sakura. Sakura didn't leave him for another man.

"I love you."

A shocked look. A slow, unsure smile. "…I…love you too Sasuke."

But Sasuke felt numb. Spent. Worn out. A simple C-rank turned B-rank thanks to the presence of those bandits. Another pay raise like before. It was great. It was so great because Sasuke could use the extra money.

He could replace some of the food in the house. Throw out some of the clothes. Burn the sheets. Tear down the posters. Get rid of the weapons! Break all the windows! Destroy the walls! Rip up the garden! AND-


And get rid of any and all things that reminded Sasuke of Naruto.

Like these stupid tears coming down his face.

Naruto wasn't crying when he told him. Sasuke wasn't sure if he was either. But damn if he sure felt like it.

"I can't do this anymore Sasuke. I'm sorry but I really do love him. But remember what I said? It's not you alright? You're not at fault. Just put all the blame on me."

"Sasuke-kun!" He felt Sakura grab his arm as they stopped. He felt his body quaking and the ground below him looked incredibly blurry.

He knew he was a threat the moment he saw him. Not too tall, not too short(but Naruto still stood on his tippy toes). Had some muscle on him but was lean enough for Naruto to wrap his arms around(which he did at every opportunity. Hugging him for much longer than necessary). Short, shaggy red-hair that was too damn soft(no matter what shampoo brand Sasuke used he couldn't get Naruto to say the same about his hair). Smooth, tan skin so eerily enough like Naruto's, but also had the fortunate of being completely unscathed(he even lacked Naruto's whisker marks. But that didn't stop Naruto from running his fingers over his cheeks as if they were there). Red, red eyes with slitted pupils that could turn gold when needed and were inquisitive, prideful, and intense(which is why Naruto stared into them so much).

And so. Much. Damn. Power. Power that Naruto was addicted to protecting(Shiori, Akatsuki, The Master Puppet), addicted to using(Haku, Gaara, Orochimaru, random thugs), and addicted to letting anyone and everyone know that it was his to use and no one else's(Sasuke, Akatsuki, Sora, Madara, Tobi, Gensui, Danzo, Konoha).

Sasuke hated him. And he spent so much energy and time on finding ways to get rid of him. For Naruto. For himself. For their relationship. And what did it all amount to?

Next thing Sasuke knew, he was pulled into a tight hug.

The smell was nice. Vanilla with a hint of strawberry. But it wasn't Naruto's scent. It wasn't the forest after a heavy rain or sweat after a tough battle or ramen after cooking for three minutes.

It wasn't Naruto. It won't be Naruto again.

Furious red eyes. The scent of blood as the demon clenched his fists and his claws broke his own tan skin.

"I hope you will one day realize what you've done Uchiha. Tearing me and Naruto apart like this; it won't lead to your perfect ending."

He says nothing as he crushes the guilt inside of him.

"You can threaten me with exposure. You can tell the drunk and the perverts about Naruto's and my relationship. You can get me kicked out of Konoha. But you can NEVER make Naruto happy the way I did."

He's lying. That's not true. And with his sharingan spinning coolly he said nothing as he waited for the Hokage to show up and officially banish this red-haired beast from his home village.

Sasuke buried his face in Sakura's shoulder and cried. Cried for the love he lost after being able to hold on for him for a short two months. No. No that wasn't right. Sasukenever had Naruto. Not even when they were kids and Sasuke thought he was Naruto's only friend. He wasn't Naruto's only friend. Naruto always had Kyuubi.

Naruto had always belonged to Kyuubi.

From behind a tree he saw two sweaty, naked bodies rolled around on the grass.

A rough kiss. "You're mine."

A deep chuckle. "Of course Naruto. You can have all of me if I can have all of you." A lick on his whisker-scarred cheek.

"Stupid fox. You've always had all of me. Now…I know you have more stamina left in you. Fuck me again?" A sensual whisper and the lovemaking begins again.

Sasuke never had a chance.

He pulled Sakura closer and cried harder.

After a good 30 minutes had gone by Sasuke felt even more drained than he had before. He had slumped forward at some time and couldn't even find the strength to sit up right. Despite weighing a good several pounds heavier, Sakura still held Sasuke steady, which surprised him. Her coat must be a mess now. It was her favorite too wasn't it? Sasuke glanced down at Sakura's back. Yep. The little white lining along on the bottom was a clear indication that Sasuke just got his tears, drool, and mucus on Sakura's favorite jacket(and a little in her hair).

How embarrassing.

The embarrassment brought a little of Sasuke's strength back. But he didn't really want to move away. First off he must look a mess and it was embarrassing enough to act so undignified. Did Sakura really have to see him look so undignified?

And second…being in Sakura's arms actually felt kind of nice.

It didn't compare to being in Naruto's warm, comfortable arms. But she did make an adequate substitute. Sasuke was content to sit here forever. He didn't want to go back to Konoha where his once again empty compound was once again waiting for him. And he didn't want to go anywhere else, where he might run into Naruto and Kyuubi. He wanted to sit like this, in the silence, forever. But Sakura, ever intelligent Sakura, had to put an end to that.

"Sasuke-kun?" Her quiet voice rang out. Strange how soft it sounds. But Sasuke preferred Naruto's voice. "Are you okay for now?"

Sasuke nodded. If only because he couldn't speak. Sakura softly patted his back.

"Good, because we need to move on now. Come on," and Sakura, despite Sasuke's internal protests, pulled away. She must've had a good look at his undignified face now, but she didn't say anything. All she did was pull out a tissue and hold it out for Sasuke. When Sasuke didn't respond she gently wiped at his face.

Huh. Her doting reminded Sasuke of his mother. It felt nice. Sakura then stood up and held out her hand to Sasuke. This time Sasuke actually responded, grabbing her hand and then letting himself be pulled off of the ground.

It was awkward now.

Sakura was smiling warmly at him, but her shoulder was still dirty. He felt a bit cleaner, but even after that Sasuke still didn't feel better. He didn't know what to do now that the love of his life, the one person who filled up the hole left in his heart by the death of his clan, was gone.

Go back to missions? To training? To dull, mundane, empty life?

Sasuke didn't want to go home.

"If you want, my apartment's open for you. You can stay there until you feel better. I'll just sleep at Ino's."

And Sasuke's lips twitched. He almost smiled at the kind offer, the offer he desperately needed because he knew he wouldn't be able to go back to the Uchiha compound so soon.

"Thank you Sakura," he said. His voice sounded scratchy, but it was fine. Sakura was someone he could trust. It was fine if he wasn't the picture of perfect in front of her. Because she would accept him no matter what.

Sakura then smiled a bright smile. That same bright smile Naruto used to wear. Only it looked a bit…different in Sasuke's eyes.

"Okay! Now let's head on back to Konoha. I'll give the report and let Tsunade-sama know what happened okay?"

"That's fine," Sasuke simply stated. Sakura then reached out to grab his hand but seemed to change her mind at the last second and simply nodded before walking ahead, giving Sasuke his space. Sasuke was grateful for it.

He looked back and felt his heart twist at the sight of the long, empty road. Naruto was down there. And he would stay down there for a long, long time. With Kyuubi. And there was nothing Sasuke could do about it.

He turned to face the way Sakura was going and started walking.

Sasuke didn't know if the ache in his heart would ever go away. He didn't know if he would ever be able to stop loving Naruto and move on to find someone else. He looked up to see Sakura was pretty far ahead and she had stopped moving. She wasn't in any battle position and Sasuke didn't sense any danger around. She just stood there with her back towards him, not ignoring him, but patiently waiting for him to catch up.

And admittedly, it gave Sasuke a little hope.

He knew things were bleak now. And he knew things were going to get bleaker once it really hit home that Naruto had left him and that all of this heartbreak could've been avoided had he just accepted what was inevitable in the first place.

But seeing Sakura standing there, the sun shining on her waif figure, made Sasuke think.

Things will be fine in the end. At some point, possibly far in the future, everything was going to be just fine.


Annnnnd finished!

I don't like the NaruSasu/SasuNaru pairing. At all. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna bash it. Just gonna take my frustrations out by writing stories of it not working out for the two ;P. This particular piece came about after reading SO MANY stories of Naruto leaving a current lover for Sasuke. I felt he had to be the end of it for once. But hopefully I did the pairing justice in that Sasuke and Naruto still had their friendship going on and their relationship was equal(there was no clear 'girlfriend' of the relationship. They were both the men so to speak).

I tried to make it look like no one was the bad guy here. Yes Sasuke screwed everything up in the beginning but I hope he came across as a little sympathetic. The guy knows better than anyone that it is NOT better to have something and lose it than to never have it at all. So he was basically was acting out of irrational fear that he'll lose Naruto. Of course this backfired horribly.

But I left a hope spot! Naruto will return one day and Sasuke will move on(maybe probably)!

Naruto breaking Sasuke's heart was harsh but he was the victim of Sasuke's manipulations. And as I said I've seen maaaaany stories where Naruto does this to others. Tried to make it seem like he felt a little guilty here.

Sakura did a little growing here too. She knew exactly what Sasuke did which was why she avoided him. She felt Sasuke was forcing Naruto into a relationship he didn't want and was a little angry with him because of that(which is why she ignored him so much during the drunk party scene). But by the end she knows now that ignoring her insane crush isn't what a good, supportive friend does and so she will try to help Sasuke feel better. At least I hope that's what it looks like…

Kyuubi…my only regret is not fleshing him out XD. All you got here about him is that he was hot, loved blueberry pancakes, loved Naruto enough to leave the village so that Sasuke wouldn't tell the villagers who he was and thus subject Naruto to their wrath, hung out with Naruto's friends enough to be considered a part of them, and got Naruto into drinking(poisonous influence indeed) :P. I swear I DID have more ideas…Just dunno where to put them. Maybe in a sequel? Possibly?

So yeah think it was too sappy? Spot grammar/spelling/structure/anything to do with English writing mistakes? Think it was alright? Please let me know! Personally I think I've done all I could story-wise(I reread it about ten times haha) but I'm up for revising it if people aren't too satisfied.

Thank you!