First: This IS actually a sequel/secondary story to 'Armour' ...but it could be read on it's own, (though I suggest that you read the first if you haven't already...things will make much more sense)

Second: Much like Armour, this isn't exactly a 'happy' story...but then again, it's not really 'sad' either...it's a strange story...what should I classify the genre as? There is more humour (actually, the humour is dominate in here) but it's a kind of bitter-humour, I suppose...anyway. I hope you enjoy...

And the moral of the story?

Read and find out.

Warnings: Swearing (they're all foul-mouthed little bastards here) OOCness in some areas, mentions of past yaoi, ect.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters used. All rights go to the respective owners.


Realism


The study hall was nice and quiet at this time of day, and I took great solace in the silence to catch up on some homework I'd neglected. Damn assignments were going to be the cause of my premature death, I just know it.

The only real sound I could hear was my own breathing and the scratch of my pen on the paper. I was focused, concentrating hard on the words I was jotting down at high speed. So focused was my mind that I didn't even register the movement to my right.

However, it was hard to ignore the book slamming onto the desk right next to me...fucking thing nearly gave me heart failure.

"Cheese, fuck and rice!" I yelled, jumping from my chair in my shock and whipping around to see the laughing person behind me. "The hell are you trying to do; make me shit myself?" I snapped, clutching at the spot over my heart.

There was another tinkling laugh as they looked down at me.

"Aw, sorry Naruto. I just wanted to catch your attention!" Sakura said teasingly as she leant against the desk. I took deep breaths to calm my heart as I sank back into my seat.

"Geez, if that's all, just wear your underwear and jiggle your ass. Believe me, you'll get plenty of attention that way," I suggested, reaching out to snatch my runaway pen before it could escape. Not today, sucker, not today!

Sakura mimicked my statement and finished it off with a pronounced finger extension; to which I laughed.

"So what brings you to my corner of the college, Pinky?" I asked, leaning back in my seat and observing her. She huffed at the nickname as she got comfortable and regarded me carefully.

"...Just thought I'd update you on the events in my love life," she said slowly and I closed my eyes, letting my head drop forward.

Wonderful. So much for my moment of Zen concentration.

Lifting my head, I rolled it back and stared at the ceiling. "Do you ever come to see me just because you miss me?" I asked sarcastically.

"Nope!" Sakura replied with cheer and I nodded.

"Of course not," I drawled. "So, Cherry-chops, what do you feel the need to divulge to my unwilling ears today?"

Sakura took a moment to punch my arm lightly-or maybe she thought so- before leaning back.

"Well...he's taking me to the movies tonight. It's our...anniversary," Sakura informed slowly and I nodded, closing my eyes.

"Yes, yes, your anniversary. Nice. And you feel the need to tell me this, why?" I asked lightly, turning unimpressed eyes to her. She smiled sadly.

"I think he's going to break up with me," she spoke softly. I stopped my auto-nodding and actually let the words play in my mind. My back arched as I pushed forward and rested my elbows on my knees, lacing my hands together.

"...That would make it three months today," I said slowly and Sakura nodded confirmation. I looked at my fingers. "He's improved."

Sakura laughed again. "Yes he has. Just like you said he must."

I huffed and pushed back. "I didn't say shit."

Sakura rolled her eyes. "Oh please. I know that you might think he was just an immature little brat-" she paused at my look and sighed, "Okay, he was an immature brat, but as I was saying, I know you think he was just being his usual self that night. But you're wrong. He really meant what he said," Sakura leant closer. "He really does love you..."

I groaned internally. Seriously, my inner self was mournfully staring out a rainy window, watching my peace and quiet get into their sound wave car and barrel out the driveway and down the highway of life. Poor inner-me was crying. I miss peace and quiet already.

"Well Sak-sak, be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that Sasuke drove his dick into some random hoe while we were together. I broke up with him with very good reason; the entire campus saw it coming a mile away and just because he apparently found a thread of emotion in that carpet of self-importance that wasn't coloured to fit his original pattern doesn't mean I'm about to weave my way back into his world," I finished with a clap of my hands. Sakura stared at me for a long moment before barking out a laugh.

"The fuck are you in visual arts for? You should become a damn poet."

I laughed. "No way. Fuck, if I can't stand my own monologues there's no way the rest of the world will survive."

Sakura hummed, eyes smiling even as she crossed her arms. "So...even though he's been good and stuck to one relationship since you guys broke up; he hasn't slept around, hasn't gone off the rails or anything...All he's been doing is working to make himself a better person...you still won't go back?" Sakura asked.

"Sakura, even if Sasuke has changed like you assume, what makes you think I even want to go back?" I asked, tapping my fingers on the counter. "Did it ever occur that maybe I prefer living without him?"

Sakura slapped her hand on the counter. "Bullshit! I know you're a realist and all that pessimistic bullshit-"

"It's not pessimistic, you tart; it's called logic."

"It's called excuses!" Sakura snapped, pushing herself up on her elbows. "If you really didn't give a single shits-shilling of interest in Sasuke's life, you never would have hunted me down when you found out I was dating him!"

I frowned. "You know Sakura, just because you don't visit me for me doesn't mean I don't visit you for you. You're my friend; you have been since we were shitting in rags and sucking on our mothers tits. I 'hunted' you down because I heard you were in the area and I wanted to catch up with you!"

Sakura laughed aloud, the sound almost hysterical. I covered my face with my hand as she went on. When Sakura got like this it was almost impossible to reason with her. Fuck, she'd probably be able to get a raving mad, delusional terrorist to surrender in this mood. It was both frightening and as annoying as a brat with a megaphone.

"Oh please! Save me your smart-ass comments Uzumaki! You must think I'm a complete idiot-"

I shrugged. "I have reason for that."

Sakura looked murderous. "Fuck you! Now shut up! I know that you followed me and Sasuke on our one date the day after I had coffee with you. I saw you. Sure, you were with your friends but I saw your eyes shooting over to our table! And then in the theatre! You sat two rows behind us and you watched us more than the film!"

Here I decided to grin and interrupt before she got on a roll that wasn't even covered in flour.

"One, yes I followed you guys on your date. Why? Because I was concerned for your vagina's safety, Sakura. I know Sasuke; I've lived with the bastard for ages. If he was in an angry state of mind because he didn't get his way with me, he would take it out on some random person he managed to bed and trust me; angry sex with Sasuke is about as pleasant as getting banged by a rabid rhinoceros with its horn in the wrong place." Sakura winced at my comparison. "And secondly, I was watching you in the theatre because I've seen that film four times before with Kiba and Gaara, and on top of that you guys were snogging and I'm a perverted person. Sue me for deciding watching the action was better than the crappy effects of the movie." I shrugged at the end of my little speech, crossing my arms and leaning back in my chair.

I probably should have seen it coming. Not only had I insulted Sakura, her intelligence and her boyfriend but I also admitted to a disturbing public perverse act of voyeuristic tendencies that included her.

But expecting it or not...

The punch fucking knocked my lights out like a globe dropped into a car crusher.

When I did slide back into coherency, it was to see Gaara hovering over me along with a mortified looking Sakura.

"I'm so sorry Naruto! I didn't mean to hit you so hard!" she gasped when I opened my eyes and focused on her.

I smiled, reaching up a hand and tugging on her hair. "Chill Pinky, I'm fine. My brain never was quite fitted tight so it won't make much difference if it's a little loose now," I joked as I sat up. Gaara knelt down, shaking his head.

"You're a bunch of weirdos. Why do I talk to you people?" he asked in his monotone drawl. I swear the mad scientist forgot to add different pitch buttons when they created him.

"Because no one else has enough balls to talk to Mr. Homicidal Sandman," I informed him coolly. He raised his hairless eyebrows and nodded.

"Of course. Can I go now?"

I chuckled. "Give him a fucking nurse hat," I mumbled to Sakura and she smiled while Gaara stood up.

"On second thought I don't need your permission. I'm going now. Later Twinkie."

I grinned, waving to him. "Goodbye Creampuff! Watch out for pot-holes on the road!"

Gaara just waved his hand and grunted as he left and I pushed myself to my feet while Sakura helped.

"I think you hit your head pretty hard!" she murmured nervously. I snorted.

"No, I think you hit my head pretty hard. Let's not place blame on the wrong person here," I corrected and Sakura blushed guiltily.

"Sorry."

I shrugged. "No biggie. How long was I out?" I asked, rubbing the spot on my head where she'd hit. There was a bump there.

"About half an hour."

I let out a low whistle, resting my hands on my hips. "Dang, that's a while. I'd better shoot. Got a lot of homework to finish and Kiba's probably going to try and eat my chicken teriyaki if I'm not there to boot his ass. I'll see you later Sakura," I said as I shoved my things into my bag. Sakura was saying something but I wasn't listening. I rushed to the door, grabbing the knob and yanking it open only to feel someone fall into me from the other side. Grunting at the sudden weight, I pushed away to see a familiar face.

Well fuck-a-doodle-doo.

"Naruto..."

"Hi Sasuke," I sighed. Really, I was not in the mood for any sort of reunions. My chicken teriyaki was in danger. I could almost hear the little pieces screaming for me. Help us Naruto! Save us from the big bad wolf, Kiba! We only wish to be eaten by you!

"...-to? Oi, Naruto?" A hand was waving in front of my face and I realized I'd zoned out, thinking of my delicious food. Snapping back to reality, I blinked and reached up a hand. Shit, I had almost started to drool.

"What happened? You zoned out?" Sakura asked from beside me, shooting nervous glances between me and the guy in front of me. I snorted.

"I was thinking about how I really have to get the hell out of here before Kiba eats my food. The guy's a friggen' hyena! So if the lovely couple will excuse me, I will be on my merry way!" I said, sliding past Sasuke and Sakura and into the hall.

"Wait!"

I skidded to a halt, letting my head hang for a moment while inner-me just let loose and face-planted the floor.

"Can I offer assistance?" I drawled, turning and slouching in their general direction.

Sasuke was looking at me, a strange look on his face. Had I more vocabulary skills and coherent thought, I may have found a suitable term for it. As it was, with my chicken-filled mind, I simply labelled it as 'constipated'.

"...How have you been?" he finally said and I took a moment to let out an exasperated huff.

"Great; fine; busy...take your pick! But for the current time, I am starving, disoriented and my fucking chicken teriyaki is practically screaming for me. So, if there are no more pathetically stupid questions, I shall be sprinting off in the opposite direction towards sustenance!" I said, already taking jumpy steps back. Seriously, my stomach was starting to ache with hunger.

Sasuke looked offended, as did Sakura, but he nodded stiffly. "Fine then. See you around."

"Uh huh, bye," I turned and ran as fast as my legs could take me. I must have broken a record with the time I reached my shared apartment, slamming through the door and into the kitchen and catching Kiba with a forkful of teriyaki about to enter his mouth. The fiend!

"DROP THE CHICKEN AND NOBODY GETS HURT!" I roared, brandishing a butcher knife from the nearby rack. My sudden entrance and yell, as well as chosen weapon, were enough to make Kiba yelp, shoot off his chair and leave his forkful behind on the plate as he backed up against the wall.

"Fucking hell Naruto! You almost killed me!" he screamed angrily.

"You're own fault for trying to touch my food!" I retorted, moving to take his seat and shovelling the food into my mouth. "Ah, sweet, sweet food." Yay! Thank you Naruto! We love being eaten by you!

...

"Hey Kiba, where'd you put that therapist card Hinata gave me last week? I think I might need it now."


I glared down at my hand, watching as it incessantly tapped against my desk. The sound was distracting me from the lecturer's voice yet it was like my hand had disconnected itself from the rest of me and gained a mind of its own. A very annoying and cheeky mind, I might add.

Finally, unable to stand the constant tapping, I slammed my other, working hand atop the traitor, effectively silencing the bastard. Smirking in victory, I failed to notice the incredulous looks directed my way until someone cleared their throat and made me look up. I looked around, seeing everyone staring at me and shrugged, laughing.

"My body moves on its own sometimes. It's a fucking chore keeping it in check," I explained and waved my friendly hand towards the front of the classroom. "Continue!"

After shaking their heads, the class and lecturer continued with the lesson while I safely tucked away my traitorous hand and tried to focus.

I managed to comprehend one or two full sentences before my gut began to clench and inner-me was jumping around screeching 'I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE, SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME!' just like a Michael Jackson wannabe.

Biting my lip, I titled my head ever so slightly to look out the class window.

Sasuke was staring at me through the glass.

My head snapped straight forwards while I drew in an annoyed breath.

Great. Now he's stalking me.

I sighed, bringing a hand up to wipe at my face before leaning forward and trying to listen to the lecturer. Of course in my peripheral vision I could make out his hairstyle, indicating his prolonged observation had continued uninterrupted by outside forces.

Knowing he wouldn't leave otherwise, I turned my head and glared at him. He stared right back making eye contact. His face was as blank and 'You-don't-scare-me-for-I-am-all-awesome' looking like always. Stupid twat.

I decided that I would have to make him leave. His presence was irritating and I actually needed to learn shit from this class if I wanted to get my high mark and honours. I narrowed my eyes, willing him to turn around and walk away. He continued to stare back at me before he quirked an eyebrow and smirked. Shit, my mind-controlling method wasn't working!

The force is strong in this one.

Offering another potent glare, I turned back to my class only to blink.

It was empty.

"Fuck!" I'd missed the lecture and of course no one was nice enough to tap my shoulder and say 'Dude, we're all evacuating this room. If you don't want to look like a complete tosser, you should leave too.'

Groaning, I shuffled to my feet and shoved my books into my over-sized, over-used bag. I glanced back out the window and froze. Sasuke wasn't there.

Now, I'm sure a lot of people would think 'Oh good, he finally left.'

But not me. No, you see, I know how that bastard's mind works! And it's not a case of he got bored and left...

No, instead he, in the words of the greatest man ever ...'waited for the opportune moment!'

Meaning that he was on his way to my classroom where I was all alone.

Ah! I always knew this class had an 'imminent rape' aura around it!

I slung my bag onto my bag and sprinted for the door. Darting out into the corridor, I saw him rushing towards me from down the hall. Damn, he was really putting the led out! If this were some lame-ass cartoon show, he'd have a dust cloud trailing behind him!

"No way!" I hissed, turning tail and sprinting the other direction.

"Naruto! Wait!"

Yes because obviously when someone runs in the opposite from you, they're going to stop and wait for you to catch up. Dumbass.

"Naruto!"

"Not now Sasuke! I've got class!" I yelled back. It wasn't a lie, I really did have class. And it's not like I was avoiding him or anything but I really didn't feel like talking to him right now. Aside from the fact that we used to date-no matter how calm the break-up was, it is always awkward afterwards-but he's also a bastard and a smug prick on top of it. From my continuous reports from Sakura, he had improved from the selfish asshole he was before but that doesn't mean I want to hang around him anymore than I have to.

And right now I don't have to. Hence my rush to a new class!

"Just hang on a moment, idiot!"

I rolled my eyes as I turned the corner. Always so charming with the flattery. A real Casanova!

Dickhead.

My classroom was coming up fast and I reached out a hand to grab the handle. Freedom was upon me!

"WAIT!"

Sadly, my awesome entrance into the class was ruined when Sasuke barrelled-not ran, he fucking barrelled- straight into my back. The poor door stood no chance! It just busted straight off the hinges, taking both Sasuke and I with it. We both yelled as our faces said a bright 'HELLO' to the cold floor, and then a hushed silence fell around us.

It took me several seconds to gather my thoughts which I'm sure had splattered over the floor out my ears upon my impact, but when I finally managed, it was to say a very profound statement.

"You suck Uchiha...you really suck."

Sasuke groaned from behind-and beside- me before he pushed himself up.

"Shut up."

Give the man a medal for intelligent comebacks.

I pushed myself into a sitting position, rubbing at an undoubtedly forming bruise on my forehead and looked up. Of course, half the class was already there and staring at us in amusement.

"...Oh, I'm fine! Thanks for the concern everyone!" I said loudly, rolling my eyes. "Seriously, where's the humanity in this place?"

There were snickers and comebacks, but I ignored them all in favour of turning to the one responsible for this all.

"What do you want, Uchiha?" I snapped. I was not in the mood for games now.

Sasuke looked annoyed at my tone but I didn't budge. The asshole was imposing on my territory; ergo I had every right to be snippy with him.

"I just...wanted to ask if you'd like to go for coffee sometime," he said lamely. I quirked an eyebrow whilst the room went silent again. The class was paying close attention to our conversation.

Nosy gits.

I stared at the man that I had dated, lived with and shared a bed with for six months before heaving a sigh.

"Sasuke, I believe I made it very clear that night that I'm not interested in starting something aga-"

"I know!" Sasuke yelled that bit, and I glared at the interruption. His eyes slid to the side under my gaze and he rubbed at his neck; a nervous gesture that he had, unwittingly, gained from me during out time together.

"I know that I just...Just as friends. I wanted to go with you just as friends. After all you never said we couldn't be friends right?" he said softly, obviously aware of the students stretching over their desks trying to hear us.

I considered it for a moment, recalling indeed that I hadn't said anything about not being friends.

"Alright, just as friends," I mumbled. How bad could it be? After all, I was going to get a free coffee! "But no funny shit or my foot will be so far up your ass I'll be able to tickle your tonsils with my toes," I warned as an afterthought. One can never be too careful!

Sasuke nodded, looking far too eager for someone who agreed to have coffee with a friend, but I decided to let it slide. He must have really wanted that coffee...he stalked me and broke us both through a doorway for it after all.

He held out his hand to me once he'd gotten to his feet, and I accepted his offered help. I made sure to take my hand back before he could think anything weird about prolonged-contact-equals-bedroom-games or some freaky shit like that.

"Right well," he was out of breath, and his cheeks were red, "I guess I'd better get going..." he was trailing off. Why was he trailing off? "S-so I'll pick you-er-I mean meet up with you later? Unless you want me to fetch you or...something?"

I stared at him.

Seriously, he was acting like a high school kid asking the girl of his dreams on a first date that she didn't know was a date at first.

"Sasuke," I snapped my fingers in front of his face when his eyes started to drift. When I had his attention, I made sure to speak clearly. "I will meet up with you at Ichiraku Cafe, at two thirty. Is that fine?"

He nodded. "That's great! Perfect! Brilliant even, it's the best-"

"Okay, okay enough, you're starting to creep me out!" I interrupted, turning him around and herding him back towards the doorway. "Look, my lesson is going to start soon and I'm sure you have something constructive to do in your own time!"

"Yeah of course..uhm...yeah I'll just go then," he said awkwardly as he stepped out the class. "Oh!" he turned around, facing me. "I broke up with Sakura," he blurted.

I blinked.

"Sorry to hear that. You guys looked good together."

His face would've looked blank to anyone but me. I saw the way it fell ever so slightly at my reply.

"...Yeah but...it wasn't really...working out," he mumbled as his hand did another Nervous-Naruto impression. "Okay I'll go now," he said softly, waving goodbye. I nodded before placing the door back against the frame and leaning against it.

"...Can someone tell me what I just condemned myself to?" I asked aloud.


My stomach was hurting with how much I was laughing. But I really couldn't help it. Of course, Sasuke was glaring at me like there was no tomorrow, but I just couldn't stop myself! The entire situation was way too funny!

"It's not funny!"

Of course, Sasuke doesn't think so.

"Ha ha! Are you kidding me? This is the most hilarious shit I've ever experienced!" I managed to gasp out before breaking out into more laughter. Sasuke stood by, his arms crossed over his chest and his glare set and fiery. We were right outside Ichiraku's and it was nearing four. I'd arrived at two thirty as we'd agreed only to find out Sasuke wasn't there. At first I had been a bit annoyed because I thought he stood me up. But then again, it wasn't like it was anything important so I just went and had coffee by myself. When I'd finished my cup of coffee, I got a phone call from Kiba. He had told me, through tears, that he was currently driving Sasuke to Ichiraku's. I had been extremely confused as to why Kiba, of all people, was driving Sasuke, of all people, to the cafe.

Kiba then went on to explain how he and Gaara had been leaving class at two fifteen and had witnessed Sasuke running for his life from a rather large group of girls. Kiba insists that they were screaming for his head while Gaara insisted that they were practically jizzing girl-jizz-whatever the fuck that was- all over the sidewalk while screaming that Sasuke was single and free for the raping.

When I corrected him that the saying was 'free for the taking' he said: "I doubt it was only taking. Several of them had ropes and I saw one of them with a horse whip and a pair of fluffy pink handcuffs. And she was in the lead."

Of course, by then I was in hysterics but when Kiba pulled up outside the cafe and Sasuke climbed out, I couldn't stop myself. The poor guy was grumpy, his shirt looked like it had been grabbed by a million Freddie Krugers and Kiba said that Sasuke threw a bitch fit because he refused to drive the guy home to change into something less...hobo-ish.

So here I was, laughing at Sasuke's misfortune like the evil little shit I acknowledge I am, while he stood in his tattered clothing outside Ichiraku.

"Are you done yet?!" he growled, stomping his foot childishly. I pulled some air into my lungs, straightening up. I looked over to him and covered my mouth.

"One second," I choked before turning around and falling to my knees, howling with laughter. I heard Sasuke roar in frustration behind me, but I ignored him in favour of letting out all the laughter bubbling inside. Finally, I climbed to my feet and faced him.

"Okay...now I'm done."

"Finally!" Sasuke groaned, grabbing my arm and trying to pull me inside. I stopped him, jerking back.

"Wait, Sasuke, I've already had like...five cups of coffee. What do you say we go grab some burgers or something instead?" I suggested, motioning to the fading light. He sighed heavily before nodding.

"But can we please stop at my place so I can change?" he said in a tone that was a blatant order disguised as a polite question. I nodded, laughing some more as he clutched his shirt closer.

"So why were those girls hounding you? I mean, I already know why most females hound you, but they seemed especially tenacious today!" I asked as we walked. Sasuke looked extremely irritated and I loved to ruffle his feathers. It was something I used to do back before we ever got together. It was a bit of a friendship thing that I wouldn't mind bringing back.

"It appears that someone from your bloody class spread the word about my break-up with Sakura. Every girl on the damn campus knows I'm...single," his eyes slid to me and I stared straight ahead with an aura of uncaring distance. His shoulders fell just a bit and he continued. "...So, naturally, they all started asking me out and eventually formed an angry mob trying to see who could kidnap me and make me love them first. Bunch of psychotic bitches!" he added scathingly.

I chuckled as we neared the apartment building. It was the same one I shared with him. I had thought he might've moved but it seemed he didn't.

"I didn't think you would stay in the apartment. You always used to complain about it being too small," I said absently. You dumbass! Why bring that up? Now he's probably going to spew some shit about it having 'good memories' or something!

"That apartment has good memories," Sasuke answered and then stared at me weirdly when I slapped myself across the face. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just knew you were going to say that," I sighed, wiping a hand over my face. "Maybe I should just go home."

"No!" His hand was around my wrist in a millisecond. "I'm sorry! I didn't...Please, let's just hang out a bit more!" he said hurriedly, pulling me closer to the stairs to the apartment. I yanked my hand from his grip and stared at him with narrowed eyes.

"Sasuke...you had better not be reading into this more than is reality," I warned.

"I'm not!" he defended quickly. "I just...God, is it so bad that I want to spend time with the only friend who didn't treat me like some sort of icon?" he asked softly, looking at the floor. "I know...I know that things won't ever return to the way they were before. And I know that it is entirely my fault because I fucked up so bad. I know all that but...I just want to at least be able to have you as a friend!" He looked up and I blinked at seeing the sadness in his eyes. "You were the only person to treat me the way I deserved it, and not the way my name demanded."

Well that was unexpected. I never really thought about it like that. Did Sasuke really appreciate my friendship because I treated him like a normal, average, spoiled little bitch? That wasn't really how I'd imagined it. I thought that I was just one of the many who he hung with. Sure, when he asked me out I had assumed it was because I was the only one he knew who was bi-sexual and close enough to him for him to ask. And I had considered that perhaps there was a deeper meaning behind his reasons of asking me, but his behaviour after we dated didn't say so.

"...Wow...I didn't think you actually had the ability to be deep!" I confessed, sliding my hands into my pockets. He looked affronted for a moment before he chuckled, smiling slightly.

"Like I, and undoubtedly Sakura, have said...I have changed. For the better, I believe," he admitted while looking at me. I rubbed the back of my head, not quite sure what to say anymore.

So it seems my stomach decided to do the talking. It growled loudly and I easily interpreted the growl to be a moan of 'BURGER! EXTRA ONIONS! NOW!'

"Well...I'm hungry. Hurry up and get changed and we'll go get some burgers," I conceded. Sasuke nodded, pleased and turned.

"Do you want to come up?" he asked. I shook my head. He looked a bit crestfallen before simply nodding. "I won't take too long."

I nodded as he hurried up the steps, bouncing on the balls of my heels as I waited.

It came as a surprise to hear Sasuke say he actually appreciated my friendship.

I didn't even know the guy could appreciate anything besides a mirror's reflective surface.

This world was full of mysteries.

I sighed, pulling out my phone to check the time when I saw I had a text. Curious, and happy because someone loved me, I opened the message.

Hey, want to go out for ramen later? I finally finished my essay and figured we could catch up.

Sai.

I hummed thoughtfully, tapping my chin with the tip of my phone. Finally, I typed a reply that would decide the fate of the world.

Will you pay?

Tapping a random rhythm against the stairs, I surveyed the darkening sky with bored eyes before my phone lit up again. Opening the text I grinned.

Stingy. Fine, I'll pay. But meet me at the usual place in an hour and a half. See you.

Sending a big 'I AM NOT STINGY YOU SHITHEAD but thanks!' I slipped my phone away as I heard Sasuke thudding down the stairs. I smiled and turned to look at him. "Hey, ready..." I trailed off as he came to a stop beside me.

"What?" he asked, fixing his tie.

His tie.

He was wearing a tie. He was wearing more than a tie.

He was wearing a suit.

"Dude...Why are you wearing a suit?" I asked, tilting my head to the side.

Sasuke fiddled with his cufflinks, looking away from me. "I like suits. They're comfortable."

"We're going to get burgers...and you want to wear a suit?" I asked again, lifting my eyebrows up high enough to imitate Gaara's lack of them.

Sasuke looked angry. "Why do you have to hate my suit? What did it ever do to you?" he snipped, and I raised my hands.

"Alright, alright! I'm sorry, sheesh! I just think it's a bit much to be wearing to a burger joint. Won't you mess grease on it?" I asked even as we began walking. Sasuke just sniffed.

"Please. As if grease could outwit me."

The egos of the Uchiha are complex and illogical indeed. They should be studied for the benefit of clean-laundry science.

"Okay, if you say so Mr. Suit-Man," I said, smirking at the glare Sasuke sent me. There was a burger joint just a block away from his apartment, so we were heading there. "By the way, in an hour and a half I have to meet up with an old friend, so that's our time for parting," I added.

Sasuke jerked to a stop. "You're meeting up with someone? We only just got together!" he said, and then his eyes widened at what he'd said. "I meant, you know, we just met up and stuff," he corrected, tugging at his cufflink jerkily.

I sighed. "Technically we were supposed to meet up at two fifteen and then have parted ways long before then. But you didn't make it on time so now our hang out time is cut short. Not my fault," I shrugged and shoved my hands in my pocket. Sasuke looked ready to argue, but the joint came into view and he clenched his jaw, just nodding stiffly.

I knew from the moment we were seated that Sasuke was beginning to rethink his love of suits. The amount of weird, curious and amused stares sent his way was making him fidgety and irritable.

It was after he'd tossed away the fifth sugar packet-the unopened ones, by the way- that I snapped.

"For fuck's sake, if you're so uncomfortable take off the blazer and the tie and roll up your sleeves!" I groaned, burying my face in my hands. I heard him sigh irritably, but the shifting of material reached my ears. I looked up and saw him rolling his sleeves up, his tie loose and his blazer on the seat beside him. "Halle-fucking-lujah! Was that so hard?"

He glared at me and I snickered in response as our food was delivered. Without preamble I took a bite out of my burger and sighed happily. "Aw yeah," I moaned, biting some more. "That's the stuff!"

Sasuke looked amused as he carefully lifted his own burger-it was smaller than his 'happy gland'- and took a bite out of it.

"Shit dude, you've had one bite and you're almost finished!" I exclaimed, looking at that tiny, pathetic excuse for a burger. "Are you on a diet or something?"

Sasuke snorted, picking at his chips. "Hn. Just because I don't dine like a Neanderthal doesn't mean I'm on a diet," he said smugly. I glared at him through my mouthful of onions and meaty goodness. He snorted again. "You look like an angry squirrel," he noted and then to add insult to injury, he nibbled on his chip in imitation of a squirrel.

I narrowed my eyes and stuck my tongue out at him, showing him all the food I'd just chewed into mush. He gagged, placing a hand over his mouth.

"That's disgusting!"

I smiled after swallowing. "And so are your social skills," I retorted.

Whatever stinging comeback he had- "shut up"- was overrun by the sound of my phone ringing. I whipped it out, flipping it open and pressing it to my ear.

"Yelloza?"

"Hey Naruto, where's your spare apartment key?" Sai's voice was loud and I hissed, pushing my phone further away on my shoulder.

"What, why?" I asked, rubbing at my ear. It occurred to me that Sasuke could hear, and he was watching my phone with interest.

"Well I figure after we meet up and stuff, I'll just crash at your place. I'm sure Kiba won't mind," Sai said, and I could hear Akamaru, Kiba's pet dog, yapping wildly. "Who's a good flea-bag? Who's a good little pavement special?" Sai was cooing and I choked a laugh.

"The spare key is under the mat, just like last week," I said, and heard Sai open the door. "Don't hurt Akamaru or else Kiba will castrate you."

"But if he does that, I'll be as dickless as you!" Sai said, aghast. I growled, tempted to slam the phone down. Instead I took a bite of my burger.

"What else, Sai?" I said through the mouthful, looking over at Sasuke and blinking at the glare he was giving my shoulder. Or was it my phone?

"Naruto...are you eating something?" Sai asked, sounding accusing. I froze, gulping thickly.

"Uh...No?" I said, wincing when I burped by accident.

"You are! You cheeky fucker, I thought I was going to take you to dinner!" Sai said indignantly. "Oh and nice porn mags by the way," he added and I paused in defending my food.

"What porn mags?" I asked, watching Sasuke out of the corner of my eyes as he drowned his chips in BBQ sauce and proceeded to stab the pieces of spud with a toothpick before devouring them like a hungry tyrannosaurus.

"The ones under your bed," Sai supplied and Sasuke sent me a very unimpressed look.

"Wait, Sai, is there a very suspicious looking stain near the bedside table, towards the right, on the wall?" I asked, shifting in my seat. There was silence before Sai hummed.

"Yep."

"That's Kiba's room. That's his cum-area," I said nonchalantly, and smiled when I heard choking from both ears. Sasuke thumped a hand against his chest, trying to dislodge a rebellious chip that was telling him to go suck it for trying to eat it. Sai seemed to be choking on thin air. Or perhaps he had some rebellious chips too!

"That," Sai began.

"—Is the most disgusting thing I've heard today," Sasuke finished, glaring at me for ruining his meal. I shrugged, scratching my chin.

"I try not to lie," I said, eyeing Sasuke evilly. "It tends to get me into shit."

"Except for when you tell Sakura her dress doesn't make her look fat!" Sai piped up through the phone and I nodded.

"Yeah, except for those times!"

Both the ravens snorted, and I wondered if there was some kind of pale-raven-psychic link that I wasn't told about.

Maybe it's an asshole thing? If you are an asshole, you can communicate telepathically with other assholes!

That must be it.

"Say Naruto, who is it that's dragging your attention away from our dinner?" Sai asked curiously, and I could hear the TV in the background. Trust Sai to come into mine and Kiba's apartment and make himself at home. Goldilocks would be so proud.

"Oh yeah, uh," I looked over to Sasuke, wondering if I should tell Sai. While I knew there was nothing to hide, I also knew that Sai had a big mouth and an even bigger imagination. I had no doubts that by saying I was with Sasuke, he would start going off about how we're 'back together' and other bullshit like that.

"Hn. It's me, Sasuke."

Well there goes my choice in the matter! Thanks a lot Sasu-dick.

"Sasuke? As in Sasuke Uchiha?" Sai asked, sounding very interested. I sighed.

"Yeah. We're just catching up is all."

"You're catching up with the dickwad who had the nerve to cheat on you with a whore and then beg you not to leave him? Wow, you really are a kind person Naruto! I admire you for that! If it were me I wouldn't bother myself with them at all!" Sai was gushing over my kindness while I was watching Sasuke.

He wasn't looking at me. Instead he was glaring at his plate of food, hands clenched on the table top and his shoulders hunching around his ears. I sighed.

"Look Sai, I'm gonna go okay? We'll talk and order some food when I get back."

"Alright. Enjoy your catching up! But keep in mind what I always say Naruto!" Sai said before repeating a phrase that I had whole heartedly agreed with. And which I still do.

"'If you had the capacity to cheat once, you will have the capacity to do it again!'"

And with that Sai hung up.


"Sasuke broke up with me."

I blinked open an eye, peering over the edge of my blankets to see Sakura standing beside my bed. What a profound statement to wake up to.

"Mmhmm," I groaned, rolling over and burying my face in my pillow.

"He said he was sorry, but that he's still in love with someone else," she continued as if I had asked.

I just snuggled deeper into the warmth of my blankets. I'm not sure what she was trying to achieve here. Pity? I warned her it would happen. Sympathy? I gave her that, not much else I can do. A shoulder to cry on? Sai had feelings for her and he was on the couch, right in the other room, willing to be a wet-shoulder.

"He's still in love with you," Sakura poked my cheek. "Are you listening?"

I shook my head. "No."

"But he's still in love with you! Aren't you going to at least acknowledge his feelings?" Sakura demanded angrily. She was tugging on my shirt, trying to get me to roll over and face her. I growled. I was not a morning person, and dammit I didn't want to have to repeat myself again!

I rolled over and narrowed my eyes at her. "Sai's still in love with you! Aren't you going to at least acknowledge his feelings?" I retorted harshly. Sakura flinched back, the blow stinging her. I may have regretted pulling such a jackass move but dammit how many times did I have to explain myself to this girl? Her skull was like a fifty centimetre thick slab of concrete under her soft, peachy skin!

"That was uncalled for," Sakura bit out.

"Was it really?" I asked, sitting up. "Sakura, I've told you a million times! Sasuke cheated on me! The bastard is just that: a bastard! Maybe he's changed, maybe he hasn't! I don't agree with cheating, and if someone does it once, who can guarantee they won't do it again? If I got back together with Sasuke, it wouldn't be a 'nice' relationship! I wouldn't be able to be all touchy-feely with him because I'll just be thinking when is he going to go bang some chick or guy? There's no trust in a relationship after cheating, and trust is bloody important!"

Sakura opened her mouth to protest but I cut her off.

"No, Sakura! Enough! Do you think I want to deal with that?" I asked, pushing myself out of bed. I was only in my boxers, but Sakura had seen me naked enough times to not be unsettled. We grew up together, and she was practically my sister.

My very brutish, hard-headed sister I might add.

"Just because I was expecting it to happen doesn't mean that I'm completely cool with it! I was hurt, alright? I was! I was mainly disappointed, but fucking hell, I lived with him! I shared a bed with him! I was intimate with him, and then he broke the thin line of trust that I'd actually put on him because I thought 'maybe this could actually work'!" I took a deep breath, trying to calm down but seriously I was on the edge of my bowl, and it was tipping over. "You keep going on and on about how hurt Sasuke is, and how sad Sasuke is, and how desperate Sasuke is...did you ever, even once stop to think that maybe I was also affected? Experiencing that sort of thing is never pleasant! I could brush it off, I could get over it, I could move on because I was expecting it and had prepared myself for it! But with you constantly slinging it back at me with reminders and telling me all about what Sasuke is doing...Goddammit Sakura, I'm sick of reliving that night and being reminded of why I lost not only a boyfriend, but a best friend!"

There were footsteps, and the door suddenly swung open. Kiba walked in, followed by Sai.

"Come on Sakura, let's go," Sai murmured, grabbing her arm and trying to pull the tearful and stunned girl from the room. "Come on, he needs some time alright?"

Sakura was on the verge of tears, and her hands trembled as she followed Sai out of the room without a word.

Kiba closed the door behind them and walked over to me, sitting us both down on the bed and wrapping an arm around my shoulder.

"It's okay man," he mumbled and I buried my face in my hands, laughing hoarsely. "I won't consider you a girl if you want to shed a few tears," he continued.

I snorted, but closed my eyes and felt the warm beginnings of salty tears behind my lids.

Kiba didn't say anything more, just rubbing my back and letting me bask in his friendly presence. What a great guy.

"You know, they say that forgiveness helps to heal," I mumbled. Kiba didn't reply but I knew he was listening. "And I did forgive him. Fuck, I knew it was coming, so how couldn't I?" I choked a laugh and Kiba nodded, scratching the back of my head like I was a pet. I smiled. "But despite that, there was still a part of me that died that night, you know? I mean...we could've had something! I did have hope that things would change for him, but then he blew it! It was so much disappointment!"

Kiba hummed in agreement. Out of everyone I knew, Kiba was the one who understood the most. He'd been cheated on by his girlfriend, and it had taken him ages to get over it.

"I know the feeling. It's like...all you can wonder is why would they do that? Did they ever care about you in the first place? Experiencing something like that really shatters your faith in humanity," he said wisely and I nodded. It did. I was lucky with how distant I'd managed to keep myself in preparation, but for those that really put themselves into a relationship?

It was like pulling the rug out from under their feet only to reveal a pit full of poisonous spikes underneath. You lost your footing, your faith in them and in love, and you felt like everything that had happened between you two up until that moment was a lie. All a conjured illusion that they created to string you along. It was a horrible feeling, and one that could turn the kindest person into a bitter soul.

That all encompassing feeling of betrayal was as much a destructive force as a raging fire.

I took a shuddering breath, pressing a hand over my mouth and looking outwards with glossy eyes. This was such a movie moment; I was tempted to tell Kiba to get the camera. As it was, I just sighed heavily.

"I didn't mean to start snapping at Sakura," I mumbled. Regret was welling up inside me. She hadn't realized I was affected. After all I did play it off really well, and not all of it was an act. Only the part where I said I was unaffected. Because no one, no matter how hard hearted you are, can walk away unaffected. There will be a parasite inside you that will spring up from time to time, spawning doubts and fears in your mind whenever someone else tries to get close.

"What should I do Kibbles?" I asked tiredly. Kiba seemed to think for a moment before he pulled me further onto the bed, pushing me to lie down.

"Wait here a moment," he mumbled and hurried out of the room. I waited, wondering what he was planning when he came back with a glass of water and a small white pill.

I sat up.

"You want to drug me?" I asked and he laughed.

"No dude, it's a sleeping tablet! I know you're not a morning person, and it's pretty early still! I also know that that overinflated head of yours is probably working a mile a minute," he nudged my head with his knuckle and I smiled at the childish treatment. He grinned. "So, you sleep some more and when we wake up, I'll treat you to ramen and we'll do something really, really gay."

I raised a brow as I took the small tablet into my hand. "And what will that be?" I asked, swallowing the little thing.

Kiba grinned.

"We're going to talk like a bunch of girls and let out all our emotions! Once we get that out of our system, we're going to a party, getting smashed and relishing in our singleness!" he pumped his fist and I laughed, laying back. Already my head was feeling thick and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. That tablet was strong stuff!

Kiba quieted down, pulling my blanket up to my chin and tucking me in like a mother hen.

I smiled sleepily. "You're the best Kibbles," I yawned. He tapped my head for the nickname.

"I know I am," he said back and left the room, leaving me to sleep away my worries and pain.

I didn't know if I would ever be able to trust Sasuke again. I knew now, and had for a while, that my feelings for him had run a bit deeper than I first thought. But that didn't change anything. He had broken my trust, and soiled the relationship we could have had, and I wasn't about to indulge in that precarious road again.

Sasuke had said he wanted to be friends again, and I wanted to be his friend. But he would never be able to match up to what we had. No matter how much he changed, the past, though easy to forget, is not so easy to get over. The feelings of betrayal would stay with me for a long time, and they would affect my actions towards him. I couldn't help it. That's what happens when someone shatters your trust.

I knew Sasuke was trying. It was easy to see. But it wasn't enough to heal everything. Some of it I needed to do on my own and I was thankful to have Kiba and Gaara and Sai and even Sakura to help me along the way.

And who knows? Maybe, in several years time, I'll meet up with Sasuke again and we might have gotten past everything. Perhaps then, we could sort something out.

But for now...

There was just an unsteady little bond for now. Something that needed a lot of time to strengthen.

I'm not being pessimistic.

I'm being realistic.

Because the world is a metaphorical battlefield, and everyone will be a wounded soldier at many points in their lives.

It's just how it works.


The End! :) ... For reals, no more sequels to this. (-_-) If you want to know what happened in future, ask your imaginations. Did they manage to work through it all and get back together? You can decide, though it's obvious that it wouldn't happen anytime soon.

Anyway, moral of this story was the same as the last one: Don't. Fucking. Cheat. And also, if you do make the mistake and cheat, don't think things will ever be so easy again. It leaves scars. If you are the criminal-er-unfortunate weakling to tempting sluts/man-whores *completely unsympathetic person here* , but you want to make it right, then you better be prepared to work hard for it. Work hard, and expect to be treated with no trust. Don't expect the other to get over it so easily, because it's not going to happen! And more importantly, DON'T FUCKING CHEAT AGAIN!

To the victims...you guys have my sympathy. All I can say to you is that, though it may seem like humanity is a world of lies, filth and false feelings, it's not...mostly. It'll take time, but you will be able to be happy again as long as you work for it and focus on finding that happiness within yourself before trying to find it with someone else.

Okay, enough preaching or whatever... I hope you enjoyed the story, one way or another.

Reviews would be very appreciated! Tell me what you thought, and give your opinions on the matter if you wish! ^_^ I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!