And here is chapter 4 finally.
So if you've read Oct. 10th and DCLT you already know the story. Sorry I got off of my updating schedule. Life. I will try not to have that happen again.
Anyways so this is longer being over 8800 words. I tried reeeeeeeally hard on this one. The hardest chapter to write so far in this story because there were a lot of parts I had trouble expanding. It's Naruto's fault really because most of this chapter is in his point of view hah. And actually my original idea for this chapter was almost completely different lol.
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Guest- Your welcome :). Thank you!
And that's it.
So I hope you enjoy this chapter. For once it's actually been BETA'D before I uploaded lol. So there should be little or no typos and everything should look right. If it doesn't I'll fix it. EDIT: Changed the genre because I realized that mystery fit better than drama.
"ARE YOU SERIOUS!? Again Kurama?! You're changing your phone number AGAIN?"
Kurama winced slightly at the sound of his pissed off ex-girlfriend's voice. He would never forget how that woman can scream.
"Calm down, I'm just changing it back to what it used to be."
"Just look at my phonebook Kurama! LOOK AT IT! And look at your name. See how many times I've had to cross your number? Eight. EIGHT times! And I'm sick of it!"
This reminded Kurama of days past. He and Matabi shouting at each other as their other friends just stand in the background, being entertained by the fight. Trying so, so hard not to get involved. The difference between then and now is Matabi and he had never before gotten into a personal fight in his office. And none of his friends were watching this with 'we-need-popcorn' expressions. They looked more nervous and uncomfortable than anything.
"One time, it was a joke."
"Yes I remember that. And it was a very stupid one!"
"Look it's not MY fault I get so many stalkers okay?! And all you have to do is get a new phonebook if you are that upset about it! At least you don't have to go back and change your number on all of your subscriptions and everything!" It was a bitch to do but it had to be done and Ms. Neatfreak here should be glad he hadn't hired her to do it.
"That is NOT the point I'm making here! I-we are all so tired of your fooling around and how it gets you in trouble!" She shouted pointing at herself and the rest of the group. Kurama looked at them sharply, daring them to speak up. But they all avoided his eyes and didn't say anything. With a growl he turned back to his top consultant.
"But it's not my-"
"Yes it IS your fault! Quit chasing after everything with legs! Then maybe you wouldn't attract so many psychotics!"
"But this change wasn't even because of a psychotic! It was a simple...error. A mistake on my part but it had nothing to do with my ways. I can continue doing what I want if I want to," Kurama defended himself. He hated how he had to do that, defend himself and his lifestyle to Matabi. They weren't even together anymore and HE was the boss. If anything, she should be defending her unprofessional attitude to him.
"You're not a teenager anymore! You're too old to be doing this type of fooling around."
"HEY! 27 is NOT old!" Chomei yelled. Kurama knew she shouted that less out of defense of him and more in defense of her 32-year-old boyfriend. Both he and Matabi ignored her.
"I didn't hire you to consult my personal life. All my decisions there are none of your business Matabi," Kurama said coldly. Just because she closed her legs after their breakup doesn't mean she had the right to look down on him for not doing the same. Honestly too old? Plenty of guys (and girls) were active around this age. It's not like he was approaching 60 or something and getting with people 20 years younger than him. Too old...really?
"I'm not thinking of my job, I'm consulting you as friend. Please." Kurama was surprised when that hard look of anger disappeared from her face and a softer look of worry and concern replaced it. "Just settle down. Pick someone and stick with them for a while. A nice boy, a nice girl whatever. Just stop running around please. One day, you'll catch the attention of a real psycho and end up as a murder victim on one of the crime documentaries."
"He was a beloved CEO..." Shukaku joked.
"Be quiet blubber mouth!" Matabi yelled. "This is serious! Even if that possibility doesn't happen, what about catching something incurable? Or getting a girl pregnant?"
The STD mention made him pause. He carried condoms around but he was well aware that isn't a 100% guarantee (thank you random whore infected with chlamydia). But he never worries, he always checks anyway. The pregnancy claim however, was ridiculous. He got a vasectomy at 23 after his first scare. He does NOT want any children, thank you.
Besides there hasn't been any risk at all with his last partner.
"Uh, Kurama?" Gyuki started. "While I don't think Matabi was right to blow up at you for a, ahem, change in phone number, I think she raises a pretty good point. Maybe it is time for you to find one relationship and stick with it. Or hell maybe you don't need one. But this playboy lifestyle can't last you forever. We're not trying to sound like stuck-up prudes here, but friends speaking out of concern for you."
Kurama looked to see all of his friends nod in agreement. This felt ridiculous. Never mind the fact that he was aware of these things as a teen, but getting lecture on all this not only as an adult but as their boss just rubbed him the wrong way.
"Great. I called all of you up here to tell you I've changed my phone number. I didn't ask for you all to stage a damn intervention! That's not even what I'm paying you for!"
"We're not asking to be paid-"
"Good! Because none of you are getting a goddamn yen for this past hour. If you want your pay to resume I suggest all of you forget your stupid high and mighty opinions of me and get back to work."
And with that every employee in the room shut their mouths and hurried out. Kurama heard a few them mumble things like: "should've waited until later", and "that went well", and his personal favorite "Matabi this is your fault". But he paid them no mind.
He honestly didn't know why he was so upset with his friends talking to him about that. Maybe they could've been quieted if he told them that this past weekend he hadn't slept with anyone other than Naruto. Maybe he was upset because he felt they were judging him and he felt ganged up on.
Maybe he was also upset, because they were asking him to stop his lifestyle and he had no idea what to do.
It's not like he's suffering from some traumatic, repressed memory that unconsciously fuels his playing around. It's not like he's spending nights with different people because he's subconsciously looking for the love he was denied most of his life. No. He doesn't do that psychoanalysis bullshit.
He sleeps around because he likes it. That's it. That's the reason. He likes it, it feels good to him. There is no reason deeper than that and so his friends were basically trying to tell him to stop doing something he liked, even though it didn't hurt anybody. That's so...stupid. And fuck them for being that stupid.
He'll settle down when he wants to.
"FINALLY!" Naruto shouted to the sky. He ignored any weird looks he may have gotten and quickly rushed into the very nice, high-rise building.
A girl sat behind the front desk. Instead of looking professional however, she went back and forth between clicking the mouse, typing a few things on her computer, and filing her nails. Her teal-colored hair and orange eyes threw Naruto off for second. And then he realized that, with her hair style, she looked so much like Sakura when had her hair short which threw him off even more. She quickly noticed him and in a polite tone asked,
"May I help you?"
Naruto nervously coughed and walked up to the desk.
"Uh yeah I'm here to see...Kurama-san." He didn't even know Kurama's last name. In all fairness it probably is because Naruto never told him his own last name. But still it felt weird using his name so personally with someone he didn't know. That and his paranoia doesn't help.
"Do you have an appointment?"
"If I did then I missed it. I got on the wrong bus three times lady! Three times! AND I got off on the wrong stop twice! I hate Konoha's buses I really do! I'd like it better maybe if the damn bus driver wasn't laughing at me. But you know I saw his face often and when I asked how his life was he burst into tears! I feel bad for making a grown man cry because that's not usually what I do. But you know, if you're going to laugh at a poor guy who can't find his way instead of helping him like you're supposed to then maybe you are just an unsatisfied jerk who-"
"Ahem. This is fascinating and all but if you don't have an appointment then I can't just let you in."
Right. Naruto was here for a reason and it wasn't to rant. He couldn't help himself. Sasuke wasn't answering his phone (again) and he was really, really frustrated with the public transport system. He was about to apologize a lot when he saw the corner of her mouth tip up into a small smile, as if she was amused by his rant. Well okay then to save further embarrassment he will let it go.
"Can't you just call up and see if he'll see me now?"
"My boss doesn't usually take walk-ins."
"Well maybe he'll make an exception this time?" Naruto smiled nervously. And on an impulse he added, "I'm pretty important to him."
The girl smirked, surprising Naruto for a bit. "If I could get double my paycheck for every time I heard that I'd be 12 times richer."
"Six pretty people have walked up to my desk before saying the same thing. My boss shooed them off without a second thought. Will you be the same?"
Six people? What was this girl talking about?
"Then again. He has been in a really weird mood lately. Maybe he'll be different with you. I also think you are cute so if my boss says no you can cry on my shoulder kay?" She winked. Naruto blushed and stumbled back a bit. He thinks he's figured out what this girl is getting at.
"Wait I'm not confessing my love or anything. I'm already marr-" He stopped talking when he realized she had already picked up the phone and wasn't listening anymore.
"Hello I have to speak to Kitsune-sama please. Someone who claims to be pretty important is here to see him."
Kitsune? That was an odd last name, but kind of cool. Naruto did like foxes, second only to frogs on his favorite animals list. There was a brief moment of silence until the secretary suddenly looked incredibly annoyed.
"You know damn well who I am Utakata don't play this game you nimrod. It's Fu now connect me up!"
What kind of professionalism is this? It actually reminded him of his friends. But he doubted could they get away with this at Sasuke's firm.
Fu rolled her eyes. "Whatever I don't care about your smooth talk. Now connect me up you're making me look bad in front of...I'm sorry you are?"
"I'm Naruto. Naruto U-"
"You're making me look bad in front of the lawyer's husband!" Naruto paled.
"How-How did you know?"
"I'm sorry?" Fu asked pulling the phone away from her ear. Once she realized what he had asked she smiled. "Oh my mentor keeps me up-to-date on the relationship status of rich and powerful men. She wants to snag one apparently. You'll have to excuse my boss' ignorance of your existence however. He doesn't bother himself with what he calls 'Shukaku information'. That's code for pointless information. Oh! Hello sir! I have someone who wants to see you but doesn't have an appointment. Are you free at this moment?"
Naruto fidgeted nervously. Right right. And you know, even if Kurama didn't know who he was it's not like his marriage to Sasuke is a huge secret. He doesn't even know why the fact that she knew him made his heartbeat faster. It's not like he and Kurama are continuing their affair. So he won't have worry about her judging or squealing.
He's not doing anything scandalous anymore. He's not. So it's okay. He was going to tell her his name anyway. He was going to give his correct last name except she recognized him before he could. He was not going to mess up anymore.
"His name his Naruto U-oh?" Fu looked incredibly confused. "I can send him...right up? Right now? Okay sir."
With that she hung up and looked at him in disbelief. "Wow you really must be important. Go right on up. Elevator is down that hallway. Go to the top floor and follow the signs."
Naruto thanked her and she winked again before returning to doing her job and filing her nails. Must be a personality thing. Must be. Ino did the same thing constantly when they were growing up. It's playful, it's innocent, and it's not an indication that Fu knows something he knows. Or doesn't know.
"Good day!" Naruto exclaimed practically running into the room. He felt even better when Kurama turned away from his laptop and returned his smile with a small one of his own.
"Heh, that didn't take you long at all."
"Well I would've came even earlier but I figured you were busy so." Naruto shrugged. He thought about retelling the bus story but then decided not to. A bit too embarrassing even if he did say it to a complete stranger earlier out of frustration. "So about why I'm here."
"Yeah I was about to ask did you come here on your own or did Sasuke send you?"
"What?" Naruto asked in shock. Did he hear that right? Sasuke wanted them to talk?
"It has to be the former right? I mean why would he send you to talk to me? It's not like he knows right? Because if he does...wow."
"Wait, wait. What are you talking about?"
"Your husband called asking about another interview. I'm at a tug of war here. Do I do what's good for my company or stick with my morals? I know I have to decide soon and there's so many second best lawyers that are good, but can't touch Sasuke's record. I want the best so...decisions, decisions...Anyway I thought he sent you to convince me but I guess not."
Naruto was stunned. So Sasuke has no time to talk to him, because he's been too busy chasing this? Well that's...to be expected. He still has a job and Naruto is, for the time being, still second. Third if the house is included. Still it doesn't make him happy that Sasuke's trying so hard to reconcile a deal before even attempting to work on their relationship.
"Hey what's with the disappointed face?"
"Nothing it's just, I've been trying to reach Sasuke and he's been ignoring all of my calls." But that'll change quickly if this talk goes right. Which it will because hey, Kurama said.
"You've been trying to reach him to...?"
"I told you I want to know what's going on. In fact that's why I'm here! I need you to help me figure out what's been going on with Sasuke so that I can solve the problem and we will be happy again!"
Kurama stared at him, clearly speechless. His mouth opened and closed a few times before he finally said, "...You're joking."
What a silly accusation, Naruto thought. Why would he be joking about this? The blond laughed as if Kurama was making a joke and crossed his arms. "No I'm dead serious. Something big is going on in Sasuke's life and I need to figure out what it is. It's the only way to save our marriage and I could really use some help."
Kurama stared at him for a seconds, as if in shock, before he slowly shook his head.
Naruto laughed loudly as if Kurama said the funniest thing in the world. Which he did in Naruto's opinion.
"I know Sasuke's being kinda difficult right now."
"I'm serious Naruto. No I will not help you save your marriage."
Naruto immediately stopped laughing. An expression of betrayal flickered across his face.
"What? Come on Kurama please!" There's no, no, no, no, no way Kurama's actually doing this. Can't he see that Naruto is desperate here? He has finally woken up and decided to do something about his life and he thought he would be doing something with some help. Some really, really good help. Why was Kurama backing out now?
"What are you expecting? Wacky adventures where we drive around the city laughing our asses off and figure out the deep, dark, secret to your husband and marriage?"
Maybe that wasn't exactly how Naruto imagined it. But it was a pretty good guessitmate. Especially the laughter and driving around part.
"Well I was hoping we would have a little fun doing this," he mumbled.
"I don't think that will happen Naruto. You watch too many movies."
"But movies are based on some truth right? Why can't I be optimistic?"
"Because you have to realize your life is not a romantic comedy or even a shojo. It is a genre called 'tragic disaster'. Whatever Sasuke's hiding from you it's probably not going to be pretty. You do know that chasing after this, I don't even know WHAT to call it, will be something you'll deeply regret 50 years down the road right?"
"No way!" Naruto shouted with a determined look on his face. He didn't want to be one of those couples. Couples that give up on their relationship so early on. He wasn't like that, he was Naruto and he NEVER gave up on anything. It will require a lot of work to fix this, but he at least wanted to give it a try. But Kurama being such a downer wasn't helping his morale. In fact, it was kind of pissing him off a bit.
"It's true. You'll be sitting in your dark lonely house, alllll alone. And one day it'll hit you that maybe your marriage wasn't worth it after all. Wisdom comes with age you know and you'll be what, 71?"
"75," he scowled.
"Wow you look young," Kurama pointed out surprised. He then leans forward with a flirtatious smile. "We won't be that far apart from each other. I'll only be 77."
This flirtatious, gutsy ass. Telling him to give up and then turning around to flirt. Jerk. If it wasn't for the fact that he was the only one Naruto could turn to, then the blond would seriously question why he was here in the first place. But with the same smile only with a little mocking edge to it, he leaned forward so that his face was just inches away from Kurama's.
"Get on with your point old man. Don't let your fragile memory start failing you this early."
The attractive red-head scoffed and leaned back to pout, "youth today I swear." Naruto couldn't stop his laughter.
"See that?" Kurama smiled, "I can't see you doing that if you pursue this 'knowledge' you want. Why not just let a failed marriage go? Leave Sasuke and forget all about him. That's my advice!"
"I appreciate you telling me this now after I've made my decision on what to do and not last night when I was an emotional wreck," the younger man said sarcastically. Seriously what was Kurama's deal today? Last night he was so: 'do what you have to Naruto' and that's exactly what the blond was doing right now. Naruto couldn't believe he was going to have to resort to actually reasoning with this guy on why he's right.
"You want me to leave, I get that. But you're also missing some of the other points to this. One, I don't want to. Two, where am I supposed to go? I have no other home, no education unless barely passing community college counts, and I have some money in my name but no job. I'm pretty sure my old neighborhood is a bunch of empty buildings now and my..." Naruto stops himself from finishing that sentence.
He was about to tell Kurama that his old name, Uzumaki, would do him just as many favors now as it did before he was married. Absolutely zero. Unless he went down his old career path that is. But to become a Yazuka this late in the game...could he really do it? No. No. That's stupid considering where he was in life right now. Sasuke would kill them. Then he would get arrested and damage Sasuke's credentials due to association. So...no, no Yazuka career for Naruto.
"Look if you ask me that's all the more reason to get out of there. If you don't have anything now with the guy then obviously something's wrong. You were looking for a hobby earlier so how about you get out there and find a job. And maybe a new apartment."
"But we have a marriage-"
"I really don't think you do," Kurama interrupted staring into Naruto's eyes. And now Naruto was really starting to get angry. Last night Kurama sounded so supportive but today he's so different. Why-what caused this? Yes last night was a low point for him but it wasn't his only hour of need. Every hour up until this whole thing is fixed will be important!
"I don't need your approval alright! Now you said you'd help me and you don't go back on your word!"
Kurama rolled his eyes. "Yes I did say that but it appears we very different definitions of the word 'help'." He crossed his arms. "I'm not helping you get back with him. I'll help you get out of a bad situation, fine. As long as it doesn't involve getting back into the place you started."
"But it's not going to involve that! If I can just figure out what's wrong with Sasuke then things can get better!"
"I doubt that."
This was getting him nowhere. If he wanted Kurama's help on this, and he was really starting to doubt he did, he needed to speak in a way that will get him on board.
"Look, learning more about Sasuke and what he's doing doesn't necessarily mean that we'll stay in a marriage. For all we know, I could find out what's going on, make him happy again, and then we divorce and we can just stay as friends for the rest of our lives!"
"You are really trying here. And that completely goes against what you said earlier!"
Damn. Well he tried. And because it was obvious he was going to fail, anger was giving way to desperation. If he didn't even have Kurama on his side, then who was with him? He didn't want to be alone in this.
"Please Kurama you HAVE to understand. You protect those you care about right? Imagine if one of your friends experienced a sudden AND drastic change in personality. Wouldn't you do all you could to try see what's wrong? To try and save him or her?"
Finally, finally Naruto got what he was looking for. Kurama faltered. The CEO looked to the side with an unsure expression so Naruto continued, hoping to eventually convince him.
"Sasuke used to be very close to me. All I'm asking for you to help me figure out what went wrong."
"I don't know what the hell you expect me to do."
"Well you're trying to hire him right? Talk to him during interviews!"
Maybe that wasn't the right idea to say. It just came to him that second but...Naruto is sure that if Kurama had something in his mouth he'd spit it out.
"Are you serious!? You want me to use my company to help you with your marital problems?!"
"You said you'd help me." And it was true but right now it sounded kind of weak.
"I meant to add within reason! God that is an insane request! Do you understand how careful I be to be to run a business?"
"Sasuke's a good lawyer though!"
"Yeah but he's not ethical!"
"Sasuke is very eth-nical! What the hell does that have to do with anything anyway?" Naruto asked incredibly confused by the terminology. And that's when Kurama smacked his palm on his forehead and glared at the blond.
"Businesses survive through a little thing called reputation."
"I thought they survived with profits."
"Ugh. Profits are key but reputation is crucial. No one would want to work with or buy a product from an unethical company!"
"But no one thinks Sasuke's unethnical except you! So your reputation isn't even at stake if you hire him. Look people already know of my existence and as long as they keep believing that Sasuke and I have a happy marriage and we keep this investigation under wraps everything should be fine."
Naruto didn't understand what was so hard to get about this. He and Kurama form a detective duo of sorts, figure out what Sasuke's problem is, and when they do Naruto will fix it and keep quiet about it. Where did Sasuke's ethnics come into play? Why was reputation important if no one even knew what was going on besides the people in this very room?
Kurama promised to help. Why was he arguing so damn much?
"For fuck's sake...I did not plan for all of this when I first got involved with you!"
"Then why do you keep getting involved?"
"Well you keep showing up. First you were at my gym and now here you are in my office. What's next the supermarket?"
That was hardly his fault! Except for this visit, it's not like he knew Kurama was suddenly going to show up everywhere in his life-wait a minute. He's mad that Naruto keeps showing up in his life. That secretary down there, Fu, pretty much said he wouldn't be the first one barging in to get a relationship out of Kurama (though their relationship would be strictly platonic). And he cited his lack of morals for sleeping with him twice despite...
Oh God...Naruto's stomach twisted in a painful way as he thought up some suspicions.
"I get it now. You're having regrets aren't you?" Naruto pointed accusingly.
"You regret meeting me don't you? And you regret giving me your number and even sleeping with me twice! You're a serial sleeper aren't you!? A playboy! I was only meant to be a one night stand and that's it! The only reason you showed up last night was because you didn't want me to squeal right!?"
Naruto was a big boy now so he expressed his pain in anger rather than tears (at least when he was in the company of others). But he felt like he got sucker punched in the gut.
"Jumping the gun aren't you? Don't you think if I was worried you'd squeal I'd call and talk to you before your little chat with Sasuke instead of driving over to your house after?"
"How would you even know when we talked?! I'm not even sure...wait I'm so confused." Naruto buried his face in his hands.
"Clearly," Kurama said. And Naruto didn't like his tone. At all.
"You said you'd help me," Naruto's voice shook a little in anger. He brought his hands to his sides and he looked very upset. Kurama looked just as upset but Naruto was pretty much done trying to play the sympathy card or even trying to understand what the man was feeling.
"Well I can't help if we are going in two different directions. So why don't you go home and try to think a little about what I'm saying here."
"Fine!" He shouted and turned around to stomp out of his office. He yelled, "I HOPE YOU HAVE A BAD DAY!" Before slamming the door shut, not caring at all if he was making a scene. He continued stomping down the hall and into the elevator.
Once inside he pressed the ground floor and as the machine went down his heart went down as well. Kurama didn't even come out of his office to stop him from leaving.
Naruto crossed his arms behind his head and leaned back with a scowl on his face. Kurama was a playboy, lying asshole-threat anyway. Naruto can do just fine saving his marriage on his own.
One week later...
Mega-markets almost have everything you need and Konoha's was no different.
Naruto's basket was piled high with goods only he would use. And there were even some he wouldn't use, ever. The purpose of those things however, was to get Sasuke's attention. Obviously one large shopping bill wasn't going to cause any financial trouble for them but the slight dip should work the way he planned. It should, Naruto thought positively.
Because if it doesn't things are going to go straight to hell. Naruto's grip on his shopping cart tightened at the thought. Sasuke can't ignore him when money is involved. He can't keeping hanging up on him when he calls, before Naruto can even say hello. He can't keep sending Kiba to escort him out of the Uchiha Law Firm every time he shows up (and Naruto can't keep looking at the pity in Kiba's eyes). And he cannot, cannot, cannot, CANNOT keep spending nights away from home without even warning Naruto, and then on the rare occasion he does show, leave the room(or the house) once he sees him.
If this place had a couple's therapy room then it would be perfect because Naruto is starting to reach the end of his rope. The stress of dealing with Kurama's absence and Sasuke's obvious ignoring of him...The stress of dealing with this whole thing by himself is starting to take its toll.
It's been a week of this. There is only so much more of it he can take before he does something drastic, he thought as he walked by the aisle 13, also known as the hunting aisle or the aisle with the really, really big guns and knives. Looking at his hands deep in thought, Naruto wasn't paying attention. Suddenly his cart jumped a bit and someone yelled,
The thing about his tower of goods is that they blocked the view in front of him. At least, that's what he's going to tell the person whose foot he just ran over. Admitting that he was so distracted by his thoughts he wasn't paying attention is too embarrassing.
"I'm so sorry!" He apologized still looking down and pulling his cart back. Naruto winced when he heard the guy hiss a little in pain as the wheel went back over his foot. He had two options here, run away in shame or make sure the guy was okay. He chose the option he was raised to choose of course. Running around his cart towards the guy he said,
"Are you oka-oh shit," he mumbled that last bit barely above of a whisper.
This was starting to sound super unreal. Maybe one is stalking the other. But is Kurama stalking him or is he stalking Kurama?
The red-head was holding a can of beans in one hand and reached down with the other to rub his aching foot. As embarrassing as this was, Naruto couldn't help but notice that this was the first time he saw Kurama in casual clothes. No the gym clothes don't count because those are gym clothes.
The cream-colored Henley shirt was tight against all the right places but the green button up shirt over it was a bit loose and so it hid parts that Naruto wanted to see. He also could imagine that if his jeans were just a little bit tighter...although he maybe should've worn tough boots instead of black and white sneakers.
Still it gave him an overall younger appearance...Naruto was shaken out of his thoughts by Kurama, who glanced up at him. When their eyes met Naruto quickly looked away. He remembered how they last parted ways and so he didn't know what to expect. Kurama just looked back down and scoffed.
"I hope this way of grabbing my attention doesn't become a habit," he grumbled.
That wasn't the worse way to start. The only thing Naruto could think of in reply was,
Which probably could've been better. Kurama stood up straight and Naruto quickly asked, "Is your foot okay?" Because he didn't even know what else to say. Should he be angry? Or play it like everything is cool between them? Is everything cool? They basically left each other because of a disagreement that neither (he suspects) will want to apologize for. He certainly doesn't want to apologize for not going along with the CEO's advice. But for everything else...He never did find out if Kurama in the end had a bad day or not.
Kurama moved his foot and shrugged his shoulders. "Meh it'll be fine. I called this by the way."
That he did. If things miraculously become okay between them, Naruto should ask him to use his clairvoyant powers to predict when Sasuke will be Sasuke again.
"So...how are you?"
Naruto looked at Kurama in shock. A casual question of care? Seriously? So Kurama...wasn't mad?
"What? It's a question," the red-head asked raising an eyebrow.
Naruto suddenly wants to hug the man in front of him. If he wasn't super conscious and aware of what that could very well lead to, he'd do it. Because what he feels now, is that he really, really missed this man. The first few days were easy because of his anger and because of his confidence on getting Sasuke back. But after the third night of no human contact other than Kiba's "Sorry Naruto you have to leave" he began to feel differently.
The phone was right there. And he knew how to get to Kurama's workplace even if he didn't know the right bus. He thought constantly about the sandwich shop and would casually stop by there, always bringing enough money for two meals (because it was his turn to pay for something). He would sometimes make omelets in the morning and watch the Sci-fi channel for a bit after which he would focus his efforts on contacting Sasuke...unless a monster movie came on. Then he wouldn't get off of the couch until the movie was over. He remembered the lingering disappointment when he accidentally slept in yesterday and despite rushing at fast as he could, made it to the gym at 1:30 PM. He got a decent workout done, but still left feeling empty.
Naruto tried hard to fight it and he did succeed in not contacting Kurama. But by Saturday night, he had to admit he really did miss him.
But instead of saying how he felt, Naruto just shook his head to get himself together and answered.
"No, it's okay I'm fine. Well right now anyway."
"I can see. You're having a party to celebrate?" Kurama asked eyeing the huge stack.
"Yep. A huge, celebratory party of one. It's just me, myself, and I for tonight." 'And for who knows how long.' He silently added.
"I'm guessing it isn't going well then?" And Kurama just leaned on his own nearly empty cart, like a bastard. There wasn't a malicious smirk on his face or even an aura of 'I-told-you-so'. But Naruto could bet that deep inside, the jerk was gloating.
So what to do now? Give him a reason to keep gloating and tell the truth? Or lie and crush his smug, mental, I-was-right party?
Neither. He leaned forward and whispered, "I am not talking about this here."
"For fuck's sake the guy is-" Kurama didn't even finish his sentence. He just shook his head and grabbed his cart.
"I have some more shopping to do."
"Wait!" Naruto shouted getting in front of his cart. "Don't you know that I'm not talking about this here is code for I'll talk about it elsewhere?"
"Are you serious Naruto? Really gonna pull me back into this?"
"Well you asked first!" But to answer his question, yes, Naruto will pull him back into this. Because he is frustrated and stressed and could really, really use someone to talk to (that he liked and was free of charge).
Kurama didn't have any reply to that. He chewed on his lip for a good few seconds. And Naruto couldn't say anything because he just had to stare. And he couldn't feel bad for staring because as of lately, it was the only in-person hot sight he gets to see. Sasuke certainly isn't doing anything attractive right now.
"I would have to cut my shopping list in half if we want to fit all of your crap in my jeep. How the hell did you plan to carry all of that anyway?"
"You have a jeep?" Naruto asked ignoring the question. To be truthfully honest he didn't think of that. He walks to this place and he only has two arms. But a big smile appeared on his face as he really thought about Kurama's words.
"You'll talk to me."
Kurama winced back a bit. "I'll drive you home and maybe listen to your ranting again but that's it Naruto! Don't want another...disagreement."
Totally fine with Naruto.
"I can put a lot of this stuff back. Really I don't even need about 3/4s of it."
Kurama nodded. "Okay I'm parked near the back. It's a black jeep next to a green sedan under a tree. If you finish early you can go there and wait for me."
Not likely in this cold, but Naruto was grateful anyway. And he showed it with his smile and heartfelt "Thanks."
Because he truly did need this right now and words couldn't describe how happy he was to be able to speak to Kurama again.
"How many cars do you have?" Naruto asked as they started putting all of the groceries in Kurama's jeep.
"Just two. This jeep and what I drove on our first date."
Naruto deserved some credit for not shouting that it wasn't a date. Because he knew damn well it was.
"Why do you need two cars? It's just you isn't it?"
"No it's me and my new boyfriend."
Naruto won't lie, his insides froze for a minute there at the thought Kurama being in a committed relationship. And he briefly, briefly thought that should another affair between the two happen to just...happen, then there would be two cheaters and that would make him feel less guilty for being the only one. He then mentally kicked himself because that was horrible.
"Of course it's just me Naruto. Who else would I be with?"
"You tell me! I don't actually know that much about you, you know! And you're an...attractive...guy who's rich and stuff and likes wine oh, and is a playboy," Naruto accused in a totally-not-at-all jealous tone. He did some reputation searching during his low week and found out that Kurama is quite the charmer. It was so obvious now that he thought about it. And he remembered the 'I've slept with married people before' comment as well. So. Obvious.
"Shall we not go the 'you're-attractive' route?" Kurama said still loading the groceries.
"Yeah yeah." At least, judging by what's going on now, Naruto wasn't just another lay for the little black book.
They finished loading the groceries and get into the jeep and Kurama started driving Naruto home. While doing so, he allowed Naruto to let loose and let loose he did. Naruto ranted about every single detail that had happened this past week, except the parts where he really missed Kurama, and his frustrating lack of progress.
"I mean at this point I think Sasuke's actually trying to ruin this! Or at least not make this work!"
"Have you ever heard of couple's therapy?"
"Oh believe me," Naruto scoffed. "If I could just talk to Sasuke that'd be the first thing I'd mention now. He'd probably listen to a professional's opinion over mine, that's how desperate I am!"
"It's not desperate to rely on therapy."
"Well I feel like it is." Naruto sighed and slumped in his seat with a pout. "I feel like it should've never gotten this bad in the first place. I literally can't even talk to him Kurama. He keeps blocking me."
"Well I don't really know what to say since certain options are out of the question," Kurama said eyeing Naruto sharply. And Naruto did feel his stomach drop a little. A part of him wanted to say 'okay okay maybe I can listen to your points now'. But another part still wanted to keep trying. Why is it that the parts of yourself that cause pain are more stubborn?
"But I guess I can tell you try other options of communication. Write him an email?"
"He'll probably delete it even if he does read it. I know because I must've sent him about ten."
"Write a letter then?"
"He'll recycle it even if he does read and understand what I write. I mean I heard my handwriting isn't exactly top notch." Naruto blushed a little.
"Well then go in and-"
"I told you Kiba's been conditioned to stand by the door and escort me out the moment he sees me."
Kurama let out a frustrated sigh and said, "Man you're in a rough spot."
"YES! See you understand that Sasuke's being stupid right?"
"I think you are too for going through with this."
"That's not fair! You can be all," Naruto immediately tries a horrible interpretation of Kurama's deeper voice, "'oh I'm so I'm so indecisive on whether or not I can hire this guy' but when I get indecisive about staying with him I'm an idiot! Don't you see the double standard there!?"
"Sasuke's not hurting me! And it's not like I have an emotional attachment to the guy!"
"Well that explains it then. I love Sasuke; you don't, so you don't get it. And so your suggestions on what I should do are not helpful!"
"Because you won't listen! And I highly doubt it's because you have too much wax in your ears!" Kurama spat out scathingly. It was at that point Naruto wondered, like seriously wondered, what the hell they were doing right now. That insult hurt. But why would Kurama say such a thing if he really wasn't being hurt by all this? If he really didn't care then he just wouldn't bother right? Either way, that still hurt.
"You're not going to change my mind so you can stop now with the insults to my intelligence," Naruto replied in a low tone. After that he committed himself to looking out the window. This wasn't going at all the way he wanted it too.
"Fine," Kurama sighed rolling his eyes. The rest of the drive was silent until Kurama pulled into Naruto's driveway and it was time for Naruto to grab his things and say good-bye. Only he didn't even know what to say now. Nothing was really resolved between them and the red-head was now leaning on his window and pouting, not even looking at him.
Sometimes, Naruto liked to be petty. But at times, he does remember how the inspirational role models in his life often tried to teach him how to be the bigger, better man, even during his teenage years when he was at his most unruliest. Thinking back on the loneliness he suffered this past week, Naruto figured he could try this time around, to go the forgiving path. He could at least start with thanking for at least attempting to help a little.
"Thanks you know," he mumbled. He spoke louder when Kurama looked at him in confusion. "I mean thanks for at least trying to give me some ideas. And for the ride home too. Cause you could've just left me at the store..."
Short, abrupt, reminds Naruto of his attitude at Sasuke's office where Kurama was forced to do the apologizing. Though Naruto's not entirely sure he should be apologetic about not listening to Kurama. However if he thinks about it a certain way, Kurama's sort of trying to protect him and look out for him and make sure he's happy. They just don't agree on the methods to reach the results they want.
Is that really a relationship ruiner?
"Are you mad at me? For not listening to you?"
Kurama looked at him with a slightly curious expression before that changed to another expression that said 'a little'. Naruto sighed.
"Look I know you are your own boss and you're probably used to people always listening to what you say and doing things your way but I'm not that kind of person. I want help but I don't want to just bow to someone's whim anymore. Look where listening blindly got me? Now I have to break Sasuke-imposed rules and be a burden just to make some change around here. I'm not asking for sympathy or anything but can't you at least understand that I want to do things my way first? If it all fails I'm open to suggestion but nothing has failed yet...except my attempts at getting Sasuke's attention but that's something else. Maybe I should try running over his foot with a shopping cart," Naruto chuckled a little.
"Why don't you have someone as a go-between?"
"Send someone else to talk to him, to be your messenger so to speak. If he won't listen to you send someone he has to listen to and have them tell Sasuke what you want to tell him and maybe they can convince him to talk to you or whatever."
Naruto looked down and started twiddling his fingers. Well now a large part of him was really happy. Kurama giving him a helpful suggestion? And he didn't sound mad anymore? If it wasn't for another part of him that needed him to speak up there would be pure happiness coming from the blond and filling up this car so much that even Kurama would have to crack a smile. But Naruto had to speak because he kinda sort of had that exact same idea.
"Ahehe...That was kinda supposed to be you," he chuckled a little nervously as he said it.
"That's what I meant when I asked you to do your interviews with Sasuke, because I know he'll listen to you. And I don't really have anyone to do my bidding. BUT! I thought about it and you're right I shouldn't use you like that. It's your company and your life and you have employees and I had no right asking you to do something so drastic for me."
Naruto heard Kurama mutter a 'damn' under his breath and inwardly panicked a little. He was supposed to move things forward with this apology not move things back! So he spoke even quicker now.
"So I'm reallyreallysorry if there's anything I learned this past week that had nothing to do with Sasuke it's that I really really do miss having a friend to just talk to and hang out with and you know with everything that just happened between us like the fighting here and in your office you know maybe you can just stop helping me with this and I'll just stop ranting if we could still just be friends again please?"
In one breath he said all Naruto said all he wanted. Except the last sentence was tacked on thoughtlessly. Still now that he said it he should go through with it, especially if it meant getting a friend back. Kurama laughed, and Naruto has to admit to himself the sound was music to his ears.
"You have no pride or dignity do you?"
"Well when you're being honest and putting it that way there isn't a reason why I should just shove you away is there? As long as you understand that I am not moving from my position."
"That's okay. We don't even have to talk about the whole thing. We'll just hang out and go to the gym and do guy stuff and stuff. I like videogames so maybe you can invite me over one day!"
Kurama grinned. "Hope you like the oldies. And first person shooters."
"I'm fine with them all. Though I wonder if there are any videogames I can relate to. Like movies?"
Kurama obviously pretended to think. "Hmm looks like I'll have to pick up some survival horror next time I go to the-" Kurama cut himself off with a laugh as Naruto playfully punched his arm.
"Oh shut up!"
It was well after 7:30PM and Kurama was the only one in Juubi's building besides the head janitor Roshi. He was in his office pretending he had some things that he really needed to work on, but was actually only there for one reason.
The things he'd do for Naruto...he just met the guy about two weeks ago. Really some things just should not be an option. What happened to good ol' dinner and a show? A sigh left his mouth. Obviously those were only for the first two dates and the third now-strictly-friendly outing has to have him play superhero. What's next? ...Kurama didn't answer that question as the last time he did it came true. No more taking chances there.
Dropping his head on his desk he groaned in frustration. Because it wasn't even like Sasuke was a bad lawyer with a horrible reputation. His reputation to the public is freaking stellar. But...he hurts his husband. A philanderer Kurama may be, but he knows the importance of marriage or even just a relationship with someone you promised your life too. It's why he never even tried to get married or form a bond like that. Sasuke being foolish enough to try and break that kind of bond got Kurama personally.
And he obviously has some kind of secret that may or may not ruin him. But what does Kurama know? Naruto doesn't know anything either. Maybe the secret is some kind of illness. Maybe Sasuke's cheating too. Because would he really be stupid enough to continue what his parents did? After all the disaster that followed?
It's probably cheating. Yeah definite possibility. Kurama was hardly one to talk in that case. But there only a few actually married persons out of the hundreds of one night stands and most of them were on the brink of divorce or were cheating anyway. Only Naruto has been adamant that he and his partner are not breaking up, ruining Kurama's 'I am not a complete home wrecker' image of himself. Damn it all. At least the blond is putting an end to the affair part anyway. Something they both...want...
And what Kurama wants is to stop getting a headache from all of this. This is primetime soap opera shit, not his life!
But, he brought his head up; he could probably switch off the tube if he just stopped responding to Naruto's pleas. Just stop investing himself into his problems, what could Naruto do anyway if he stopped? He obviously wasn't going to say anything about it. He would probably just pretend they never met and then go back to his miserable life where he will die by age fifty of a loneliness-induced heart attack...Never doing anything spectacular with his life. Never reaching his full potential. Never feeling a shred of happiness again. Just pining and pining and pining for someone who may or may not have a legitimate reason for neglecting him besides work and who obviously won't talk and so Naruto would die never knowing why Sasuke seemingly hated him.
It would all be just. So. Sad.
Two more thoughts. That's it. Just two more quick thoughts dedicated to this. Because it is still Sunday night and he wants to go home and get a little shut eye.
If he gave Sasuke another chance his company would have the very best on its side...and Naruto would possibly get some help. But he would go against his morals.
If he didn't give Sasuke another chance he can say he lived a life following his moral code, but his company would have to settle for second rate...and Naruto would die miserable.
That's two benefits vs. two cons.
Like he really had morals anyway. He should just stop with the excuses.
Kurama didn't have many regrets in his life. And he really, really hoped that this would not become one.
With a loud sigh he picked up the phone and dialed a number. The person on the other end picked up after only three rings. Kurama was quick and to the point.
"Hello Uchiha-san it's Kurama. Perhaps we should give this another try..."
And there we go.
Whoa conflict lol. At least it had been(for the time being) 'resolved'. But rest assured that that little 'fight' ain't over yet hehe.
Fun fact: About the original idea, there was actually going to be another 'date' between Naruto and Kurama and it was a picnic that was going to end in some...things ;P...twice. And also originally there wasn't a fight. They just went from office to picnic. But I couldn't make it believably happen so you'll have to wait for later chapters to see if the affiar picks up again...who am I kidding? I'm sure you all figured out by now if the affair starts again or not haha.
Cause I know that the summary says that Naruto meets Kurama and thinks he's his soulmate. Anyone waiting for that moment your patience will be rewarded very soon. Already Naruto's starting to get a little bit PO'd with Sasuke for his neglect and Kurama's quickly going to look better and better in his eyes ;P.
Also foreshadowing. Small stuff. Every event in this chapter matters. Yeah hope it's keeping you interested and thinking heh.
K so next is Little Terror, then Salvation, then Seas and Anything That Can Go Wrong, and then we are back to October 10th. Still hoping to have it all(cept Oct. 10th) updated in this month. We'll see.
Lastly, I've been looking for this one fanfic for a while now and if anyone cares to look the description of it is on my profile page(at the very bottom). It's KyuuNaru of course. It might be deleted or something but if anyone knows anything about it I would really appreciated it :)!
K that's it. Hope New Years parties/days went well and please tell me what you think about this chap :)!