Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and all that stuff. If I did Karin would never have existed.
Note: 'blah blah blah.' Is Sasuke's thoughts.
Following your heart:
'I may have gotten stronger, but these last two years have been the worst years of my life.'
A teenager with black hair and dark guarded eyes stood hesitantly near the start of the forest which led to Konoha. The last time he had been there was just over two years ago, and he hadn't exactly left on the best terms.
"Damn that bastard Orochimaru." He swore angrily, punching a hole in the nearest tree. His physical strength had increased tenfold during his time away, with no thanks to the snake man who had caused him to leave in the first place. No, all that man had done was rant about how the boy was going to be the perfect vessel. He quickly realised that wasn't really something he wanted to have happen to him, so he left.
If given the chance he would have gone straight back to Konoha, but he knew the situation was difficult. He had abandoned them, and if he came back not even a month later they would give him hell. Still, he had been tempted to go back anyway. Apologising wasn't something Uchihas liked to do, but he had this nagging feeling that told him it needed to be done.
No, he wasn't going to apologise for leaving, at least not to everyone. He was going to apologise to a certain blond for the things he had said before they parted ways. It had physically hurt him to see the confusion and pain in his blue eyes, but he had been in a bad way and, at that time, had no intention of taking it back or even thinking it through.
"There's nothing to be gained by putting off the inevitable…" He muttered, flipping his hood up and checking his gear before heading into the forest.
In Konoha a certain blond was sprawled out across his bed, blue eyes staring up at the ceiling with a look of content on his face. His teacher Jiraiya had decided now was as good a time as any to begin another of his books, so Naruto had taken the chance to come back to the village. He had only gotten back a short while ago but it was a relief being back in his own place. Spending so much time with the old man had been starting to mess with his head, especially that one time he had accidentally stumbled across a manuscript for one of his books.
He shuddered at the memory.
"Jeez, he needs to keep his stupid books to himself. He shouldn't be writing them in the middle of my training anyway!" Shouting that fact to the empty confines of his apartment made him feel a little bit better and he sat up on the bed, looking out into the kitchen. He hadn't had a chance to stock up on any food, a fact that irritated him immensely. Nothing good could come from a lack of food, but it was too late for him to go out and get anything.
Sighing dejectedly he pushed off his bed, traipsing through to the kitchen to see if there was anything left in his bag for him to eat for dinner. He vowed to remember to go shopping in the morning.
-2 days later-
Sasuke emerged from the forest at the edge of the village with his hood drawn over his head so that it partially covered his face. He could have gotten there sooner but he had been travelling slowly, battling with his feelings and logic as one told him to go on and one told him to turn around and leave. Feelings had won in the end, but it had been a close battle.
He headed straight for the entrance, hand clenched around a letter in the pocket of his cloak. His dark eyes scanned the area, noting the lack of activity. Then again, it was drawing rather close to nightfall so not many people would be keen on leaving the village at such a time.
Walking to the entrance he veered over to the guards sitting off to one side. Bringing his hand out of his pocket he showed them the letter of recommendation he had received from the Village hidden in the Clouds after a year of training there. He had known it would come in handy eventually. The guards must have been new to the job since they didn't bat an eyelash when they read it, either completely ignoring his name printed on the letter or just not knowing who he was. Either way it made it easier for him as they handed the letter back without any questions and let him into the village.
That was when he started getting nervous. It wasn't right for an Uchiha to be nervous about simply talking to someone, but it was exactly that that was making his stomach do somersaults. Shoving his hands in his pockets he wandered slowly through the village. He had a pretty good idea of where the blond would be at that particular time of the day. If he was even in the village at all.
"Shit." Sasuke shook his head, refusing to let himself dwell on the negative possibilities. He was here now and he was going to make the most of it before Tsunade heard that he was back. He'd rather talk to Naruto before having to face her. In fact he'd rather avoid her altogether, but he would never be able to redeem himself if he couldn't even face the hokage of his own – well his old – village.
It took Sasuke a moment to remember how to get to Ichiraku's, seeing as he hadn't been there in over two years. The walk there brought back memories. Every now and again Naruto had dragged Sakura and him to the ramen shop. He had pretended to hate it, but the fact that someone cared enough to make him go had been oddly reassuring.
"Oh crap, I forgot my wallet!" A familiar voice rang out in alarm from the small store. A small smile graced Sasuke's lips, a rare emotion for the stoic young man. Raising one arm he pushed aside some of the material and stepped into the store.
"I'll pay for it." He offered, pulling his own wallet from his pocket and offering it to the shocked blond.
"I… uh…" Naruto glanced nervously at his empty ramen bowl and back at Sasuke, who still had that smile on his face.
"It's okay. I haven't eaten yet so if you want another bowl it's on me." Sitting down on the stool next to Naruto he waited for the blond to respond. Eventually he sat down again, accepting the offer. Sasuke let Naruto order for both of them, content to watch his old friend for a little while. He had grown; his face seemed more mature than when he had last seen him. His appetite hadn't changed a bit though.
"Hey, thanks for this. I owe you one." Sasuke's smile widened the tiniest bit and he shoved his hood back, revealing his face to the world.
"No, eating with you is enough." He said quietly, lowering his gaze to the counter. There was a sharp intake of breath before Naruto jumped to his feet, slamming his hands down on the wood.
"Sasuke?" He whispered, hoping that it wasn't a trick. The black haired teen nodded almost unnoticeably, tilting his head to glance up into shocked blue eyes.
"I'm back." The bowls of ramen were set down in front of them on the wooden counter and Sasuke sent Naruto a meaningful look, telling him to sit down. He obliged, but he didn't start eating.
"When did you…? How…?" He couldn't manage to form full sentences, but Sasuke knew what he was trying to ask regardless.
"You can ask me anything later, alright?" It was encouraging for Sasuke to see that Naruto hadn't started yelling at him and that he didn't appear to be mad. Then again he was most likely in a state of shock, which would wear off shortly.
'Damn, don't start thinking like that. Be optimistic.' He scoffed inwardly at his own failed attempt at cheering himself up. The smile faded from his face as he ate his ramen in silence. The silence was too absolute; it hung heavily in the air.
When he paid for their meal he was honestly glad to be leaving. Naruto wanted to talk, he wanted to explain, but they couldn't do it out in the open like that.
"We should go to my place. It will be easier to talk there right?" Sasuke blinked, looking over at the slightly shorter teen walking next. He had been about to suggest it himself and was surprised that Naruto had been considerate enough to offer. Naruto took the lead, the silence engulfing them again. The atmosphere was tense and Sasuke bit his lip, mask slipping as he let new nervous habits surface.
They walked into a building and up the stairs until Naruto paused in front of one of the doors, taking out a key and unlocking it. Sasuke recognised the place, it was the same place Naruto had lived when he was last in the village. The inside was still more or less the same as well. It felt awfully nostalgic, even though he had only been there a few times before. The blond sat down on his bed and Sasuke pulled a chair into the bedroom from the kitchen, sitting down across from him.
"Before you ask anything I… I just want to say sorry." Naruto's bright blue eyes widened in shock, staring at the nervous form sitting in the chair. Never in his life had he heard the Uchiha apologise, it wasn't exactly what he had been expecting to hear. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to string words together that wouldn't sound completely stupid.
"How did you get into the village?" He asked finally, letting the curiosity shine through in his tone. Sasuke smiled weakly, pulling the letter out of his pocket again and handing it to Naruto. He scanned it quickly, glancing up in awe.
"It says you were there for a whole year. What about Orochimaru?" Sasuke sighed, taking the paper back and tucking it away in his cloak.
"I was barely there for two weeks. He was too obsessed with his own goals, he didn't care about my training at all." Naruto's gaze hardened, lips forming a frown.
"Then why didn't you come back sooner! We would have helped you. We could have trained together like always." The hurt was evident in his voice and Sasuke couldn't bring himself to look him in the eye.
"I… I know that Naruto, I wanted to come back. I just thought it would be better if I proved myself first."
"You didn't have to!" Naruto was almost shouting now. "It would have been fine if you had just come back!" Sasuke flinched, forcing himself to look up at the person he had been missing the most.
"But now I have proven myself to be trustworthy. I can walk with my head held high and stay out of the shadows." He climbed to his feet, never breaking eye contact, and walked over to the bed.
"Why?" Sasuke sank to his knees so that he was eye to eye with his friend before leaning forward and gently pressing his lips against Naruto's. When he pulled away the blue eyes that watched him were threatening to overflow. He mumbled an apology and went to get up but Naruto grabbed his wrist, preventing him from moving. Sasuke sent him a questioning look which was ignored as he moved off the bed and kissed him. Naruto did cry as he wrapped his arms around the black haired boy's neck, deepening the kiss. He responded in turn by wrapping his arms around Naruto's waist and lightly running his tongue across his lower lip. The blond obediently opened his mouth, letting out a small moan as Sasuke's tongue darted into his mouth, trying to map out every inch of it.
When breathing became a necessity they could no longer go without they slowly broke apart. A flimsy thread of saliva connected them for a moment and Sasuke thought it fitting. It was like a representation of the bond that had made him come back and the bond that had made Naruto wait for him. He brought his hand up and cupped Naruto's cheek, gently wiping away the tears with his thumb.
"Why are you crying?" He asked, concerned for his favourite person.
"Because you… you're really here." Naruto swallowed and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, smiling. "This is really happening." Sasuke's expression softened as he got to his feet, picking up his love and putting him back on the bed. He discarded his cloak, throwing it on the chair with his bag, revealing a toned body underneath a slim fitting black shirt. As he sat down on the edge of the bed he noticed the intense blush painted across Naruto's cheeks.
"I hope you're not thinking anything dirty." He teased, crawling over and pushing him down onto his back. The blush only got deeper and Sasuke swore he was probably blushing too. With one hand on either side of Naruto's head he leaned down, crushing their lips together with a little bit more force than the previous time. As the blond opened his mouth there was a battle for dominance which the dark haired teen quickly won before he went back to his previous task of mapping out the boy's mouth, trying to memorise it.
Pulling away Sasuke rested his head lightly against Naruto's shoulder, breathing heavily. If he wasn't blushing then he knew he was about to go bright red.
"… I love you." He felt a pressure on his back and allowed himself to be pulled down.
"I love you too." Naruto whispered in his ear, smiling.
Sakura was furious as she kicked open the door to Naruto's apartment. He had been back in the village for three days and she had only just found out less than an hour ago from Ino. Ino! The pink haired shinobi was so furious that she didn't even notice the extra pair of shoes by the door as she charged through to his bedroom. When she opened the door she froze in the doorway, gaping at the scene before her.
Naruto was sprawled out across the bed with an all too familiar dark haired boy's arms wrapped around his waist, holding him close. They were both fast asleep, which was lucky for the girl as she wasn't sure how to react. Her last hopeless dreams of one day being with Sasuke had just been smashed to pieces, but oddly she didn't mind. Turning around she walked as quietly as she could out of the apartment, shutting the door behind her.
News of Sasuke's return spread like wildfire after that.
'The last two years may have been the worst of my life, but it can only get better from here.'
A/N: Honestly I don't like this very much. I don't think it's nearly as good as my other fluffy yaoi story, but then again I suppose that's up for you lot to discuss. I hope you like it even if I don't. Just remember, it's only my second attempt at this sort of story so…
Just saying, don't you dare review and say they are OOC, of course they are because different things happened, shaping them in a different way from normal.
EDIT: 27/1/12: Wow, 5 favourites overnight, maybe I didn't do such a bad job after all :) Thanks guys